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Lissa

Colitis Vs Gluten Intolerance

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What is the true difference between Colitis and Gluten Intolerance? And why do those with Colitis are told to go gluten free? I'm curious as I've responded incredibly to the gluten-free diet (Aside from times when I was glutenated, I've barely had any D! I even went to the mall/movies/restaurant the other day, totally confident I would be able to control my bowel, and I did. I was so proud, aha). But I am the first in my family to have a problem with gluten. However, GI diseases run in my family. My mom suffers from Crohn's and while it was never officially diagonsed (she passed away before it was confirmed) it was suspected that my grandmother had colitis. And the diseases go back and back through some of the women in my family. So if anyone could explain the connection between gluten issues and colitis, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks! :)

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There is a lot that is not understood about the body & disease. It might appear that you have colitis when in fact you really just had celiac disease that looked like colitis. For every disease known to the medical community there has to have been at least one mis-diagnosis, just my guess.

There is a lady now in our support group that had Crohns for years. She is a vet, worked for another vet that had celiac. She learned to bake gluten-free for the office & then went into the gluten-free cake business. (& would come to the support meetings to sell her cakes) I was talking to her one day & convinced her to get the test for celiac thru Enterolab.com. I mean I could not believe she had never been tested. Well she has a DQ8 & a DQ2 gene. She keeps thanking me for talking her into the test because she said that about day 4 gluten-free she was a new person, & she does not have crohns - she has celiac. & she is a young lady & she was plenty put out that she had lived with the wrong diagnosis for so long. She now looks so happy & has so much energy!!!!

I hope you find total health!!!

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To make a long story short, people who have digestive diseases - ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, what have you - have impaired digestive abilities. Most are unable to completely digest and absorb gluten. Lactose is another common offender. Anything that's not properly digested can irritate the gut and feed the bad gut flora, making the problem worse. Crohn's and ulcerative colitis both respond well to a grain-free, lactose-free diet.

Ulcerative colits affects the inner lining of the large intestine. It usually starts on the rectum end and works it's way up and around. At it's worst, the entire colon can be affected. Crohn's can strike anywhere throughout the digestive system, but is usually found in the small intestine. It affects the entire intestinal wall, not just the inner part. Both diseases are "inflammatory bowel diseases" and are considered to be auto-immune responses. Celiac disease affects the small intestine but is resolved with a gluten-free diet. UC and Crohn's are considered chronic and incurable.

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I just found out I have microscopic colitis, I had been gluten-free for several years and had improved considerably but wasn't totally better. I have been on meds (pepto, of all things!) for the colitis and had really improved, so I slacked on watching the gluten content a little. I'm not talking about eating a slice or regular pizza or anything, just not looking for crumbs in my mayo and things like that. Wow! Whatever else may be going on, for sure I still have a huge issue with gluten. I got all sorts of rotten symptoms back right away, pains in the gut so bad I considered going to the ER (haven't had *that* happen before...yipes!) and in generally just really, really got reminded of why I can't have gluten.

I don't know if it's Celiac's *And* colitis since I haven't had the official test, my suspicion is that the Celiac's created the inflammation that caused the colitis to linger but I guess I'll never know. At any rate, since the gluten-free diet is good for both problems I will be sticking to that (and looking for crumbs again) for sure!

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I also have microscopic (collagenous colitis) and my mother is celiac. I, however, am not celiac. There is a correlation between microscopic colitis and celiac and microscopic colitis can often be controlled by a gluten free diet, but these are two separate diseases. I follow a completely grain-free, soy-free and dairy-free diet and yet, I still have symptoms. Right now, I'm in the middle of a bad flare up (D about 10-15 times per day) and the doctor put me on Asacol. So far that's not working and the doc said if it's not under control by Friday, he wants to put me on Prednisone. Arrggh!

As a broad generalization, colitis affects the large intestine and celiac affects the small intestine. The type of damage is can also be different (and varies with the type of colitis).

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Right now, I'm in the middle of a bad flare up (D about 10-15 times per day) and the doctor put me on Asacol. So far that's not working and the doc said if it's not under control by Friday, he wants to put me on Prednisone. Arrggh!

You might want to ask your doctor about azulfadine (sulfasalazine). It's an older drug, similar to Asacol, but not time-released. Many folks have bad reactions to Asacol but do well on azulfadine.

Prednisone, IMHO, should be a last resort. The side effects are horrible and can do long-term damage. If you need stronger medication, you might look into immunosuppresants as an alternative to steroids.

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There are some doctors that think that celiac can manifest in the colon (versus the small intestine) as an IBD like Crohn's or Colitis.

Sometimes I wonder if they aren't different manifestations of the same problem as opposed to totally separate diseases. I think there's alot about digestive health we still don't understand. And in my experience, most allopathic gastros, in my area at least, have very little desire to learn more beyond their usual drugs and surgery approach.

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