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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

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SO I have been having digestive problems for quite some time now...not really sure how long. I guess I thought it was normal to be in the bathroom 4 or 5x per day?

Anyways I'm 21 years old and I've been having diarrhea and stomach pain, abdominal cramping and bloating, fatigue, and just a general feeling of crappiness all over. I had my daughter (1st child) last February, 2007. I have been trying to eat "healthy" food ever since she was born, which includes a lot of whole grain pasta and bread of course...but I'm in the Marine Corps and they dont' care if you just had a baby, they just want you to lose the weight.

I went to the doctor and he was concerned because of my family history, so he sent me in for a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. (My dad was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer at 47)

So I go in for the procedures, and afterwards the doctor tells me that everything is normal, but I need to go to the lab to get my blood tested for Celiacs. This struck me as rather odd, because I actually have a friend with Celiacs and I never even thought that could be the problem.

I had the blood test last week, and I haven't gotten the results back, hopefully later this week my doctor will give me a call. It's taking a while because they have to send the blood out to a reference lab, they can't do it at the Army hospital here.

I have been eating gluten free food since sunday, and I felt better until this morning, but I have a feeling that the nachos I ate for dinner at McAllister's last night might have something to do with that. They had chili on them with lots of beans and I'm not used to eating beans lol! :o I just figured since I already got the blood test I could go ahead and start the diet to see if it helps.

A couple other things I should mention:

My mom said that as a baby I had diarrhea a lot and I was always fussy, just crying 24/7. Apparently it helped when they put me on a special soy-based formula, but I'm kinda thinking that they weren't very careful about how they manufactured food products in the 80's, at least not like they are now.

Also she said that when I was a toddler I would have really bad spells of diarrhea, and she had to feed me only rice and applesauce, and then I would get better for a while. I was like gee thanks mom, did you ever think of mentioning this before???

When I was in marine combat training for a month (after our 3 month long boot camp), all we had to eat was MRE's every day. I ate three of them per DAY, which is about 9,000 calories. They are also supposed to make you constipated, but I still had diarrhea, and I ended up losing at least another 10 lbs, and I was VERY thin to begin with. I'm pretty tall (5'7") and I was a size 6 before I went to combat training, and when I came out I was a size 2, and you could see all my ribs, my hip bones were sticking out, etc. I looked anorexic after eating 9,000 calories a day!!!

Also my dad has always had digestive problems, but never went to the doctor. He was also diagnosed as anemic, no known cause, at least 10 years ago. Then he got diagnosed with colon cancer at age 47, it was end of stage 3, and it quickly progressed to stage 4 terminal cancer. My mom thinks he had it at least for a year before that, since he was 46, and colon cancer is pretty rare in men under 50.

I wonder if my dad has Celiacs, he seems to have a lot of the symptoms, and it would make sense since there is a genetic link.

IF you're still reading this, thanks for listening! Any comments, advice is welcome :)


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Hi Katie,

Welcome to the forum. It looks like you have done your homework.

Celiac has over 200 symptoms and untreated Celiac can lead to unfortunate diseases such as stomach cancer as well as many others.

Regardless as to what your blood work might indicate, the bottom line is that you feel better going gluten free. That in itself is somewhat of a diagnosis. The blood work in not known to be 100% reliable. The blood test can rule Celiac in if positive, but it cannot rule it out if negative.

This is a great site - take some time to walk around. If we can help in any way, just ask.

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THanks a lot :)

I have done a lot of research on it so far. Who knows what the blood tests will say, but if I feel better on the diet I'm definitely sticking with it :)

My friend that has it has never been officially diagnosed, but seriously, if you get sick from eating a turkey sandwich that is not normal lol!

Oh, also I was going to ask, how long does it typically take to feel better? I read on this forum that some people don't see full effects for several months?

I keep forgetting things I want to ask....

1. Should I avoid dairy for a little while?

2. Is soy okay or not okay? I've heard conflicting info on that.

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1. Should I avoid dairy for a little while?

Dairy (lactose) is digested by the tips of your villi so if you have a lot of villi damage it may be difficult to digest until you heal. It's really up to you, but it can't hurt.

2. Is soy okay or not okay? I've heard conflicting info on that.

Soy is ok unless you have a soy intolerance. I would give it a few months and if you don't feel better, then consider eliminating soy. Of course, there are always studies showing soy in general isn't good to consume, but I haven't done much research on that.

Oh, also I was going to ask, how long does it typically take to feel better? I read on this forum that some people don't see full effects for several months?

Again, this really depends. I felt better almost immediately with full recovery taking six months (this was mostly from loss of strength from being in bed for so long). Some people take a long time to get better. These are usually the people who have had undiagnosed celiac for years and thus have a lot of villi damage or those who have other food intolerances in addition to celiac.

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Hi, and welcome! I would think that on a gluten-free diet you would be able to gain weight now that your body will be able to absorb food. I hope you have good access to gluten-free food. You might want to avoid dairy in the beginning as well if you notice that bothers you.

As to the soy. I was very frustrated because I had eliminated gluten and dairy and continued getting sick. I ended up having to remove soy AND potatoes. That's a pretty steep learning curve when I can't cook myself. But you may not have so many food intolerances.

Don't be too hard on yourself in the beginning. It is a touch diet to adapt to! You might be able to find a celiac support group in your area.

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