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Wondering If This Could Be Celiac/gluten Intolerance

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Hi I am new here and am hoping that I can find some support and/or advice on what I have been dealing with. I am 23 y/o female and am/was a competitive athlete (distance running). About 2 years ago I went from being extremely fit and healthy into a downward spiral. The long and short of it is that now two years and 3 stress fractures, chronic fatique/ iron deficiency, asthmatic like symptoms (difficulty taking a deep breath, lots of yawning), chronic brain fog and a slough of GI issues ( i.e. bloating, frequent inconsistent stools(some hard, some very fatty and loose), bouts of painful and embarrassing gas with alternating C and D...sorry for the details) and a whole lot of stress because of it all, I am just now starting to wonder if this could be an intolerance. I am pretty much fed up with Dr's telling me it is just stress and then sending me home with laxatives (does that make any sense?) or anti-anxiety meds!

So that was just the past year that this all came about. Since I can remember I have had a touchy and gassy GI system but I never thought much of it as I figured it had to do with all the veggies and fiber I ate plus my running. I have also always had pretty bad seasonal allergies and very dry skin with chronic little red bumps on the back of my upper and lower arms. Not sure if any of that is related but thought I might as well throw it out there.

Anyways just recently after doing some research I decided on my own to try and go gluten free...I figured it couldn't hurt and since no doctor seemed to be listening to me anyways I might as well give it a try. The results, well, they have been pretty noticeable. My energy levels have increased quite a bit as well as my "brain fog" seeming to lift. My GI system appears to have quieted down some too...is this noticeable decrease in symptoms enough to assume this is gluten related? Should I push to get tested by my doctor? I have one second cousin that has celiacs but it is unknown which side of the family it comes from, but I guess it is possible that it could run on the side I am related to. The thought of finding an culprit to these problems, and one that I can control almost seems too good to be true.

Thanks for any help. I really really appreciate it.

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I guess I am just wondering if I am jumping to conclusions or over analyzing things...I am pretty desperate as my life pretty much seemed to deteriorate out of nowhere over the last two years.

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I certainly wouldn't rule it out and your symptoms seem consistent with the many symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac, especially since you seemed to have a positive response to a gluten-free diet. It would definitely be worth seeing a good GI doc about, although the testing process requires for you to continue eating gluten.

Even then, the tests aren't always reliable. Some folks like to use http://www.enterolab.com as well, which can also do a genetic screen for the celiac and gluten intolerant genes.

Most importantly, though, if you get relief from a gluten-free diet, then regardless of a positive or negative diagnosis, you don't need a doctor's permission to follow it.

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If you want to be tested for celiac, you need to do it now .... and you'll need to be eating gluten for the testing. It would be easier for you to go back on gluten now than to wait and go back on it for months after you've been gluten-free.

In my opinion, if all your health concerns clear up on a gluten-free diet, that says a lot!

Some of us have gluten intolerance because of another underlying health concern.

For me, my GI tract was always a weak area, as you describe. I got Lyme Disease, and my GI tract was one of the most affected areas.

I also had the shortness of breath you describe .... like I was hungry for air and couldn't get a full breath. That is from a coinfection of the lyme. I was tested for asthma ... I did not have it, I was actually hyperventilating.

My cognitive issues/brain fog eventually go pretty severe, too. Also, heart palpitations, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, etc.

Now that I'm treating the Lyme, the gluten intolerance went away entirely because it was a secondary problem to the Lyme. There is a thread here that can tell you more about this. http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?showtopic=36163

On the other hand, if gluten is the primary problem, your health concerns should clear up. If they don't, you will want to keep looking for what else might be the problem along with gluten.

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Thank you so much for you replies. Just having some form of support is really appreciated. I keep going back and forth on whether or not it really could be the case especially since my GI issues are still present some, but noticeably less (the biggest thing is that I haven't had any debilitating bloating in the past week +). I can be hyper-analytical and too hard on myself. However the lifting of the major clearing of brain fog and increase in energy levels I think is enough to say there is something going on so regardless of what future tests might say I am definitely going to stick to these dietary modifications. I want so badly to be able to get back to my running again but honestly the biggest things is that I just long to feel myself and be healthy again.

sorry for the venting, it just feels good to have a place where you can vent and people understand.

I have read, here and in other research, that the testing for celiacs/gluten intolerance are a bit shaky, but what methods do you think are the best out of what is available? I see that enterolab is something that is used quite often outside of the dr. office and it is something I think I may consider depending on how my appt goes on monday.

Anyways thanks again.:)

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I don't know what I would do about this forum. My learning curve for the gluten-free life would have not have been so quick had I not found this place!

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Hi I am new here and am hoping that I can find some support and/or advice on what I have been dealing with. I am 23 y/o female and am/was a competitive athlete (distance running). About 2 years ago I went from being extremely fit and healthy into a downward spiral. The long and short of it is that now two years and 3 stress fractures, chronic fatique/ iron deficiency, asthmatic like symptoms (difficulty taking a deep breath, lots of yawning), chronic brain fog and a slough of GI issues ( i.e. bloating, frequent inconsistent stools(some hard, some very fatty and loose), bouts of painful and embarrassing gas with alternating C and D...sorry for the details) and a whole lot of stress because of it all, I am just now starting to wonder if this could be an intolerance. I am pretty much fed up with Dr's telling me it is just stress and then sending me home with laxatives (does that make any sense?) or anti-anxiety meds!

Thanks for any help. I really really appreciate it.

Your fractures and iron deficiencies can be direct effects of celiac. You should get a DEXA scan to check for bone-density, and get your iron and feritin levels checked. Since you've had 3 fractures, you probably have osteopenia or osteoporosis. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis (3 fractures in 3 years) and anemia first, and because of them, I found out that I have Celiac. Osteoporosis and anemia are common problems for people with Celiac and should be monitored by your doctor.

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Just out of curiosity what enterolab tests do people recommend. Like I said I will probably consider this after seeing my doctor on Monday. Has literature been published yet on their specificity and sensitivity? I realize that no tests out there are completely accurate and that the dietary changes are the biggest indicator but still for some reason I really want to have some test tell me what is going on. I shouldn't but I do.

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The Enterolab tests can only tell you whether you are sensitive to gluten .... something you can find out by dietary response.

You can be genetically tested to see if you have the markers for celiac disease. Thirty percent have celiac genes, one percent have celiac, so having the markers for it does not mean you have it.

They also test for gluten sensitive genes. However, unless you're Asian, you have two gluten sensitive or celiac genes. Every single gene is considered gluten sensitive except for DQ4, which is only found in Asians.

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