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Severe Cough/rhinitis And Celiac Disease

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Hey all, I'm new here and newly ID'd as a possible celiac disease'er. I am very happy to find some kindred souls on this forum. My celiac disease symptoms= "IBS" (diarrhea/bloating + loud growling tummy, intermittent anemia). I've also had issues with asthma, rhinitis, & severe cough since I was 13 or so. I grew to dread every cold because even simple viruses result in 4-6 weeks of uncontrollable coughing, gagging, vomiting, poor sleep, missed work, etc. I was dx'd by a pulmonologist two years ago with "hyperreactive airway disease". The hay fever/rhinitis/cough went from intermittent to continuous last April. I've tried it all-- antihistamines, inhalers, antitussives, steroids, antibiotics, breathing treatments-- nothing helps. I became "that girl who coughs". The cough was affecting my work performance and limiting my social life. I had to find out what was wrong or my goose was cooked. I went to an ENT, who saw no functional problem. An allergist was next on the list.

Then a girlfriend and I decided to go low-carb (no bread) for weight loss. Lo and behold, within 3 days my rhinitis & cough went away!!!~ I made the wheat allergy connection. I went gluten-free with much success-- after four weeks I am now sleeping flat thru the night like a normal person. I'm not vomiting into plastic bags while driving on the freeway. I'm putting off the dentist because it costs too much-- not because I can't lay back without coughing. I'm hiking, mountain biking, and hitting the gym again!

Questions for the Forum:

1) My allergist told me that respiratory symptoms (like cough & rhinitis) are atypical for Celiac Disease. But are they unheard of??? Otherwise I very much fit the picture for celiac disease.

2) My skin test for wheat allergy was negative-- does that rule out wheat allergy?

3) If so.... how come when I accidentally ate some wheat (in falafels), my gut bloated and I coughed all night?

4) I am awaiting the blood test antibody results for Celiac Disease. How much of a problem is it that I went gluten-free several weeks prior (my allergist says no problem).

5) Has anybody else had severe respiratory problems RESOLVE COMPLETELY after going gluten-free???

Thank you so much for your time,


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1) My daughter had persistent nasal and throat irritation prior to diagnosis. Her problems cleared up when going gluten-free and come back if she accidentally ingests gluten.

2) Wheat allergy is different than Celiac/gluten intolerance. Sounds like you don't have a wheat allergy, but certainly could be celiac or gluten intolerant, especially if your experience with the SB diet provided relief of many symptoms.

3) Because that is how your immune system reacts when you get "glutened." My daughter gets horrible stomach cramps and bloating and sinus irritation (among other things, but those are the most noticeable).

4) False negatives are common among celiac blood tests. The time off of gluten (depending on how strict you have been) may cause the result to be negative. Your next steps might be to request an endoscopy to see if there has been damage (blunting of villi) to your small intestine and/or continue with a gluten-free lifestyle (you don't need a doctor's permission) if it provides you relief. It just depends on how important a doctor's diagnosis is to you. It was important for me and our family to have a Dr. diganose our daughter's celiac disease, but looking back, I would probably be just as satisfied going gluten-free rather than getting the dx. She had a positive blood test and a positive biopsy with both a strong dietary response and decreased TTG levels after 3 months of complying with the diet.

5) Yes. My daughter's have resolved completely. Her sinuses do flare up with accidental glutenings, though, and it does make her prone to other infections like strep and such if her immune system is suppressed for any length of time (which happens when she is glutened). Many of her symptoms I would have considered mild or atypical when she was diagnosed. I didn't even know what Celiac was until the GI mentioned it as a possibility just after her endoscopy.

Hope that helps. Best of luck with your gluten-free journey!

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Your tests will not be accurate since you went gluten free. I suggest you do Enterolabs stool testing. You can be gluten free for this. But, obviously you are at least gluten intolerant since you eliminated and then ate it and had a reaction. Gluten intolerance can destroy your body as much as Celiac.

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But, obviously you are at least gluten intolerant since you eliminated and then ate it and had a reaction. Gluten intolerance can destroy your body as much as Celiac.

Please forgive my ignorance-- but how does "gluten intolerance" differ from celiac disease and wheat allergy?

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I believe wheat allergy, like other allergies, involves a histamine reaction.

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, by contrast, are autoimmune responses: your immune system reacts to the gluten by attacking YOU (thyroid, pancreas, gut, brain, skin, etc.).

THere is much argument over the dividing line between celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Possibly, the only difference might be what stage the gluten intolerance is: gluten intolerance, in many (but possibly not all) cases is simply early-stage celiac. If you have gluten intolerance and you keep eating gluten, eventually, you will damage your villi, which results in a positive diagnosis for celiac disease. However, many people believe that there are situations that seem to be able to CAUSE a non-celiac gluten intolerance; these situation include (but are not limited to) mercury toxicity and Lyme Disease.

Many people think that genetic testing is the answer; however, people who do NOT possess the currently recognized "celiac genes" have been know to have positive biopsies for celiac and/or dermatitis herpetiformis, both of which are considered incontrovertible evidence of celiac disease.

It doesn't really matter what you call it; either way, you can't eat gluten! (If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, poops like a duck... :) )

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To those who replied-- thank you so much for your responses, and for helping to clear up some confusing issues. It will be interesting to see my blood test results. Regardless, no way will I eat gluten again on purpose. I feel so much better without it and the cough/rhinitis seems to be history. :D I would still love to hear from anyone who has cough/rhinitis as their major symptom.

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I just discovered this website as I was looking for a possible link between celiac disease and rhinitis. It seems other people with celiac are also experiencing nasal and sinus problems. I have been gluten free for about three years but my rhinitis has not improved. The doctors say it is vasomotor rhinitis which basically means it is non-bacterial and non-viral but a hypersensitivity in the nasal mucous membranes. It is very annoying and I have not found anything that gives me relief although I have not tried pharmaceuticals as I tend to stay away from them. Plan to keep looking and will certainly share the information if I find anything.

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Ditto, Lady Baba!

My elderly father has been suffering with a non-stop runny nose, as you have, for several years now. It seems to be aggravated by eating and exertion. In addition to the annoyance of having a drippy faucet in the middle of his face, I think the gunk that's constantly running down his throat is causing him to gag and spit up. Poor guy. Poor you, too!

We cannot find the source and we're having no luck finding a medication that works -- it's just as well you've resisted using them: Dad has high blood pressure, so antihistimines are out; NasalCrom, which is supposed to relieve vasomotor rhinitis doesn't seem to help at all; Fluconase for sinusitis seems to help only verrry slightly.

From some of the posts, it seems that gluten intolerance is a possibility. I'll keep him off gluten and see how it goes.

In case it doesn't help him...

Have you discovered the source of your rhinitis?

Have you found any relief?

Thanks! Hope you've found some relief!

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What did you find out about your daughter ? My son is 6 and has used the exact same sentence!! He feels like there is a bubble in his throat. He has been complaining on and off for the last year and recently it seems he complains more Ans Wants me to make a doctor appt. he had reflux bad as a baby until about 2.5 and allergies to fomula Ans my milk but since then I thought that all went away. 
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