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BigDogz

Got "glutened" - Now Having Pain Under Rt. Ribcage

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Hi, guys...

I went to a July 4th picnic at a friend's place. She's well aware of my "issues" and was truly great in planning and making a menu that was gluten free so that I wouldn't feel excluded or uncomfortable having to constantly explain to other attendees why I didn't want/couldn't have such-and-such a dish, etc. She really went above and beyond for me.

As it turns out, her mother helped her in the kitchen and, not realizing she was supposed to use cornstarch as a thickening agent in the one dish, my friend's mother used the standard flour she was accustomed to using. My friend was busy working on something else at the time and didn't know that the substitution had occurred. Thinking that everything was "safe", I ate without questioning anything. My friend feels really bad that I got "glutened" and her mother feels even worse.

Like any of us, I've inadvertantly gotten "glutened" before, and I probably will again in the future just because there's so danged many opporutnities for hidden gluten, but my reactions have always been diarrhea, burning of my mouth and sometimes tingling in my feet and/or hands. This time, though, I had my usual symptoms PLUS I've had terrible pain up under my right ribcage. At its worst, it even seemed to go "through" to my back, up under my shoulder blade. I considered going to the ER but I didn't want to have to leave work and, well, it just seemed stupid to sit for hours in an ER when I could connect it to knowing that I was glutened. In the end, I just grit my teeth, did my best John Wayne imitation and tried to pretend I wasn't hurting.

I'm not having the severe pain any longer, but I still have what can only be described as a deep-seated achiness on that right side now. If I could deal with it the way it felt a few days back, I can certainly live with it the way it is now, but, since I've never had this before, I wondered if there was something I should be worried about. It doesn't seem like an emergency, so I really don't want to go to the ER. And I hate to make an appt. with my doc, for a couple reasons...first of all, I'm afraid that by the time I can get an appt., the pain will be completely gone and I'll end up spending money and come up with a big, fat nothing and, secondly, I endured a doc for many years that thought I was a nutcase for complaining of what we now know are my celiac disease symptoms and I don't want to get my new doc, too, thinking that I'm some whack-job hypochondriac.

Anybody else ever had pain under their right ribcage after getting glutened? How long did it last and was it the gluten that caused it, or something else?

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I get the pain that you describe--for me is associated with the bloating. I feel a pressure-type pain under my ribcage, and it does take a few days for it to subside completely. I wouldn't worry about it unless it's persistent and happens when you're otherwise feeling fine. :)

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I hate the feeling of being needlessly paranoid, but I guess the pain being under my right ribcage is what has me nervous. That's where your liver and your gallbladder live.

When I was about 6, my pediatrician just about had a stroke because she noted that the whites of my eyes weren't really white...they're...a "soft" yellow. Mom told her it had been that way for at least 3 years and the peditrician said "Oh" and shrugged it off. Nothing more was ever said or done about it.

Years later I had some routine bloodwork and my doc at that time noted that my bilirubin was elevated. Not bad, but about 1.5-2 times the usual. The rest of the liver panel was normal. Doc said I must just have Gilbert's Syndrome, a harmless, hereditary elevation of bilirubin and then shrugged it off, too.

Then, suddenly, I'm having pain in that area and it was WAY more than any bloating I've ever had - broke out in a sweat and thought I was gonna toss my cookies. I tried taking some Tylenol but I could swear that actually made the pain a little worse so I stopped taking it.

Also, my Dad was just about my age when his gallbladder acted up on him and I've read that people with a parent that has had gallbladder disease are something like 3.5 times more likely than the average Joe to also have problems. I also fit the "classic" gallbladder patient profile pretty well - fair skin, female, in their forties (I'm 41) and fat. The fat part doesn't fit me, but everything else does.

As I said, my previous doc's attitude has pretty much made me paranoid of seeing doctors unless I absolutely HAVE to. I literally fear that nothing will be found and I'll be thought of as some screwball. I know I shouldn't feel that way, but after 21 years of being told that "everything's fine, you just need to relax" and "it's all in your head, there's nothing wrong with you" and my previous doc making no attempts to cover up his annoyed amusement, I'd rather suffer in silence than risk hearing more of that.

Anyway...I know that folks with celiac disease can also have autoimmine hepatitis and I just got wondering if maybe the elevated bilrubin I've had all these years isn't as harmless as my other doc lead me to believe. I also got a Hep B vaccination when they first came out. I was never tested for an antibody titre but WAS tested 2 years ago and I had absolutely NO detectable antibodies. It was recommended that I repeat the series. I did...and my celiac disease symptoms have jacked up ever since and that's what finally lead to me getting a diagnosis.

Then again, maybe, I'm soon going to follow in my Dad's footsteps and end up losing my gallbladder.

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It sounds like you're very concerned about this--I understand. My billirubin was elevated slightly before I was diagnosed and went back to normal within about 6 months gluten-free. I was glutened pretty badly last summer--I was eating nuts every day that I found out were made on shared lines with wheat (they had been completely safe in the past when I checked).

At that point, my liver enzymes again elevated (this showed up on a routine blood test). I underwent a sonogram of my upper abdominal area since such elevations can be a sign of gallbladder trouble. My father had to have his removed, so I figured that this was the case with me. Not so, my gallbladder, liver and pancreas were all perfectly normal.

I then had an endoscopy which did show a hiatal hernia, but nothing else. My hepatic panel and screen for hepatitis were both negative. My GI surmised that the whole episode was "sprue-related". :huh:

I'm so sorry that the doctors you saw laughed you off--that's horrible. I hope you can find one that will work with you to try and find the cause of your symptoms. You are not paranoid :)

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I still get that pain when glutened. I had my gallbladder removed several years ago.

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That pain is also a sign for me if I've been glutened.

jerseyangel gave you some good advice to go and get the tests done, if nothing else it might allay any fear you have about your gallbladder and/or liver and know that the pain is likely a celiac reaction.

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That pain and acid reflux are my two main symptoms if i've been glutened. I actually had my gallbladder removed because of the location of the pain before I self diagnosed myself with Celiac/Gluten intolerance. I still get the pain so I know it wasn't my gallbladder. Everyone can be different though, if it doesn't go away, i'd get it checked.

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Momof2PrettyGirls...

WOW! I had no idea so many other Celiacs had the pain in the same area I described. Definitely puts my mind at ease that I've been dealing with nothing more than the side effects of having been glutened.

I also read your "mini profile" at the bottom of your post. It's interesting how you were able to figure things out on your own. To some degree, I've done the same. After 20-some years of dealing with a doctor who was quicker to laugh off my complaints than look into them, I finally found one that's more open-minded...but I pretty much did all of the "leg work" in between - going gluten-free and have a complete resolution of symptoms, doing a gluten challenge and having a dramatic return of symptoms. Doc suggested genetic testing and those results, coupled with my response to removal and return of gluten, were enough for my current doc to say "yes, you have celiac disease" and recommend not bothering to have the scope.

I'm curious to know, though, for those of you that have been completely self-diagnosed:

Did you tell your doctor about your self-diagnosis?

How did he respond to it? Was he accepting or dismissive?

Did he want to or insist on proving or disproving it with "traditional" testing?

If so, and you refused to go back to gluten for the testing, how did they respond to that?

If you would end up being admitted to a hospital for some reason and have to give a medical history, do you tell them that you have celiac disease?

If not, how do you explain that you'll require a gluten-free diet?

Do you tell friends and family that you're gluten intolerant or that you have celiac disease?

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Did you tell your doctor about your self-diagnosis? yes

How did he respond to it? Was he accepting or dismissive?

Did he want to or insist on proving or disproving it with "traditional" testing?

my md had been willing to test for celiac but his training is quite a few years out of date and would only order a single test (even though I had told him I'd stopped eating gluten about 2 weeks before, he didn't think that would affect the test) when the test came back negative he told me to "play with my diet, remove wheat or dairy and see how you feel"

Do you tell friends and family that you're gluten intolerant or that you have celiac disease?

both and depends on the situation....people who have never experienced what we do just because of a single grain/gram/drop of gluten can never get it....like many I've been accused of "going overboard" or being too picky so I find that in order for some people to accept how strict we have to be I use the celiac term.

my mother had MS so my family does understand how devastating and auto immune disorder can be. what they can't understand is how celiac/gluten intolerance can be managed by eating 0 gluten....it's the 0 part they don't get :(

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Yeah it's pretty crazy that after all the thousands of dollars i've spent trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I finally figured it out myself. My symptoms were so all over the place, doctors were sending me here there and everywhere. Noone had a clear diagnosis. I had my gallbladder removed for nothing! I was told I had Orthostatic Hypotension(a heart/circulation condition) Anxiety(was told that by about 5 doctors!), Depression, IBS, Ulcers(not sure if I have these or not), Acid Reflux and GERD(I think i really do have this and am on Rantidine every night) But I still had extreme belly pain. Stabbing in upper right quad, extreme acid reflux, anxiety, confusion, etc.. It was CRAZY! Most all of my symptoms are GONE now! :)

Did you tell your doctor about your self-diagnosis?

Yes, I told him and he said "well it sounds like it is working for you. Keep doing that." (did not suggest testing in any way since I was already on a gluten free diet)

How did he respond to it? Was he accepting or dismissive? He kind of laughed it off, but then again he said to keep on it.

Did he want to or insist on proving or disproving it with "traditional" testing? He really didn't care.

If so, and you refused to go back to gluten for the testing, how did they respond to that?

If you would end up being admitted to a hospital for some reason and have to give a medical history, do you tell them that you have celiac disease? I would definitely tell them that, even though I do not know for sure if I have Celiac.

If not, how do you explain that you'll require a gluten-free diet? I explain my complete medical history and self daignosis

Do you tell friends and family that you're gluten intolerant or that you have celiac disease? My family is my biggest challenge thus far. They think it's just a fad diet. They are very rude and sarcastic with me, so I end up taking my own food everywhere I go.

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Momof2PrettyGirls...

I'm curious to know, though, for those of you that have been completely self-diagnosed: I'm going to answer this for my son.

Did you tell your doctor about your self-diagnosis? yes

How did he respond to it? Was he accepting or dismissive? very accepting

Did he want to or insist on proving or disproving it with "traditional" testing? No

If you would end up being admitted to a hospital for some reason and have to give a medical history, do you tell them that you have celiac disease? Yes, and we back it up with a letter from the PCP saying that my son must be allowed to be gluten free because gluten causes him to have chronic "d".

Do you tell friends and family that you're gluten intolerant or that you have celiac disease? It's celiacs, he got it from me.

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I would see a doctor no matter what...

But one word - Costochondritis -

the doctor told me it is cartilage coming away from the rib-cage. Yes, it is painful.

I have this, possibly from the swelling of intestines from gluten, soooo badly I looked pregnant, before dx. and I had some other issues too.. not so bad anymore.... unless I get glutened and swell. :o(

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I would see a doctor no matter what...

But one word - Costochondritis -

the doctor told me it is cartilage coming away from the rib-cage. Yes, it is painful.

I have this, possibly from the swelling of intestines from gluten, soooo badly I looked pregnant, before dx. and I had some other issues too.. not so bad anymore.... unless I get glutened and swell. :o(

I still have a little pain from time to time but I'm more certain than ever that its root cause was the glutening I received. Although the Costo was a good suggestion, I know for a fact that the pain I was experiencing was not Costo. I can't say that I like your doctor's explanation of what Costochondritis is. Costo is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects ribs to your sternum, or breastbone. Pain from Costo is centered in the chest, most often on the left side of your breastbone, and is often mistaken for a heart attack. The pain is not up underneath the ribs like mine was. Costo pain is also made worse by movement such as bending, reaching, breathing, coughing, etc.

My pain was most definitely up under the ribs and wasn't affected by movement...it just plain hurt like crap all of the time, whether I was moving or lying perfectly still. Also, I was literally able to push the area of my abdomen just beneath the ribcage and it spiked the pain like mad. An hour or so after I'd eat (gluten-free, of course) the pain would worsen and lessen, worsen and lessen like spasms. That's kind of what put me in mind of the gallbladder. I remember my Dad having that same kind of colic-y type pain with his gallbladder attack. The colic like pain, though, could have also occured from the inflammation and irritation of the intestine from the glutening as a spasming-like movement of the intestines is what pushes food and waste through the system. Could be the gluten just amplified it into something unusually painful.

Pretty much, I've decided to go with the idea that the culprit was the gluten...but if it would ever happen again, particularly if I can't ID a possible glutening episode at or around that time, I'm going to get it checked out.

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Costochondritis

This was probably my worst symptom, before going gluten free. I kept visiting doctors (sometimes 3-4 time per month). My doctors kept diagnosing me with Costochondritis. I would repeatedly ask what was causing this, with no real help from the doctors. They would give me anti-inflamatory and send me on my way. Finally decided to quit wasting my money and take OTC anti-inflamatory. Most of the time it would relieve my pains....February '09 had a gallbladder attack-got that taken out and when I get glutened I still have pains in my chest (mostly around the left side -center of breastbone straight through to my back and under left arm around breast area) from Costochondritis. This is how I know I've been glutened.....

Wenmin

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My boyfriend and I just "self-diagnosed" me with a gluten intolerance about 2.5 weeks ago. I've always had acid reflux and digestive discomfort after eating (big lover of breads and anything carb!) for as long as I can remember, at least grade school days, if not my whole life. One night I was having a really upset stomach and just felt ill and nauseated. My boyfriend asked what I had eaten that day... I rattled off the list... muffins, a ton of bread, bruschetta, all gluten-loaded things... my cousin has Celiac and a number of people we know have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance in the last few years... so he suggested trying a gluten free diet, just to test the theory. I've been feeling soooooooo much better since the first day I started on the diet and have only had one accidental slip, which wasn't too bad, but now I know that's probably the cause of my issues for at least 15+ years of my life... I had also been slowly dropping weight over the last few months (and I was only about 110-115 lbs to start so it was a little worrisome)

Anyways, about a month ago (2 weeks or so before going gluten free), I had gotten a very similar sharp pain in my lower right rib area. I woke up feeling like someone had kicked me in the side. It hurt when I coughed, sneezed, hiccupped, or exerted myself. Being a hypochondriac, I was afraid of appendicitis at first but nothing else added up to that. I went to the chiropractor and he adjusted me a few times and the pain was alleviated greatly but every so often I still get a twinge. It helped to ice it but just more numbing than anything - trying not to poke it and re-aggrevate it. Also, I used to sleep on my stomach all the time... now I can't because it feels like something is slightly sticking out of that area when I lay on my stomach. My ribs look and feel like they're in place. I'd be interested if you've found anything else out that it could be. I still have my gallbladder but don't really know enough of what that does, where it's located, etc to know if that might be my issue. My friend just had hers out and I know she had to cut out a lot of fats from her diet to process things?

I don't really want to go to a physician for an official diagnosis because I have enough other pre-existing conditions to sky rocket my health insurance premiums as it is and I'm currently laid off and can't afford a lot of doctor visits and tests. I just hate the doctor's office in general. :( So I figure, the diet's working, I'll have no problem sticking with that for life, if it makes me feel 100% better from just a few weeks ago! :)

The only problem I'm having now, besides the slight "rib" pain, is that my body seems to be "flushing" itself and it's not very fun... I'm wondering if anyone else had this after going gluten-free? I figure it has something to do with a problem processing fats or lactose or something, but after about 4 straight days of this, I am hoping it goes away soon and I can feel like I don't need to have a bathroom nearby all day because I don't feel great (though I know it's a completely different "ill" feeling than what I was used to when I had gluten!)

Any thoughts??

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I get the same pain. Feels like a brick is shoved right under my ribcage on the right side. Doc said it was "probably just gas" , haha oh man. I feel a little nauseous as well when this happens. It goes away in a few days. Heating pads and hot showers help with the pain.

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