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Trying Out Diet As Preliminary Diagnosis

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So a little history:

Me: 38 yrs old. No history of GI issues. Last 5 yrs issue with iron deficient anemia (not severe).

About 10 mos ago started having issues with major acid reflux, heartburn, feeling of fullness, bloating, diarrhea, gassy.

Dr put me on Prilosec 2x daily. Worked great - at about 85% improvement for acid reflux. Lately have been experiencing major diarrhea (sudden urges to use bathroom after just going pee 10 mins prior, very fatty/floating particles) and then experienced 2 days of constipation. Now experiencing bloating, fullness again with still sudden urges to have BM but no diarrhea, just feeling of incomplete evacuation. Very gassy and uncomfortable. still some minor acid reflux.

Oh, and had endoscopy done about 3 mos ago (upper) - signs of irritation in stomach, nothing in first parts of upper bowels, bx of stomach was negative. Thyroid normal, borderline normal iron levels. No results yet on Vit D test.

So my question is: My dr has suggested that I try a gluten-free diet to see if that helps my symptoms. She is leaning towards IBS as a diagnosis but thought going gluten-free might help. I am alittle bit hesitant to try the diet just b/c I would either have to do it alone (more costly option) or have the entire family on it with small children that aren't necessarily the greatest eaters (not always into new things) (not as costly but I am sure will still increase my food budget). But i am also hesitant b/c my dr mentioned that I don't have to start reading all labels right away, just eliminate all major/main sources of gluten (bread, pasta for example) and that any incidental glutens can be taken out later when I am more committed to the diet and ready to read labels. To me that seems a little fishy because I figure that gluten is gluten but she thought that small sources of gluten won't irritate me as much as a major influx would. Do people have various degrees of tolerance of gluten? Is it feasible to start the diet this way? how much preparation does one need for this? Do people go cold turkey or gradually introduce gluten-free products? I guess I am also thinking about all of the groceries that I have right now that I would have to throw away to really go whole hog with this thing.

Thanks for reading this and sorry for the length. Thank you for any suggestions/help that you can provide :)

take care.

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I think you're correct when you said gluten is gluten. Many on this board report symptoms from the tiniest amounts of gluten. However, I guess your doctor is suggesting that you should notice some improvement without the major sources of gluten in your diet. I suppose that's probably true for some, and not for others. But in order to actually heal and be free of symptoms, you must be 100% gluten-free, no exceptions. CC, or Cross-Contamination will occur from time to time, and those symptoms can be quite severe. Many report that symptoms from accidental gluten ingestion are worse after going gluten-free. An example of CC is if someone used the jar of mayonnaise, and dipped the knife in again after making contact with the bread. Then, when you use that mayo, you'll likely be getting some gluten.

About the cost; It really doesn't have to be more expensive. While most specialty gluten-free products are very pricey, most ordinary wholesome foods are naturally gluten-free. Fresh veggies, fruits, beans, plain meats, etc are all gluten-free. If you avoid processed foods, and specialty gluten-free products, your food bill shouldn't increase much if at all. Many find it cheaper, depending on what they had been buying before.

Depending on the age of your children, you may not have much to really worry about. There are a number of gluten-free mainstream breakfast cereals for example, though you can certainly do better than that junk IMHO. The gluten-free diet can be very healthy if done right, and quite delicious and satisfying too. The most major food challenge will probably be the bread products. The best gluten-free breads are the ones you make yourself, from scratch. Opinions on the bread mix or blend vary widely, so you'll probably have to try a few to find one you like. If you're not into baking, then I think I'd suggest some of the more simple things, like pancakes for instance.

Gluten-Free pasta is an easy one. Tinkyada brand is the favorite on this board. Many have served it to gluten-eaters, and nobody even knew it was gluten-free.

If you do want to toast gluten-free breads, and if your family doesn't go gluten-free with you, then you'll need a dedicated gluten-free toaster of your own. Scratched pots and pans are a no-no, along with cast iron, and anything else that can hold gluten. This includes colanders, cutting boards, wooden utensils, and so forth. Your kids will have to learn to clean up after themselves. Bread crumbs on the table or counter top cannot be allowed if you really want to avoid CC. Some can manage a "mixed kitchen", while others find it easier to have the whole family go gluten-free.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but it does get easier. After awhile it'll just be the routine.

I'm sure others will chime in with helpful suggestions and advice.

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Hello, I'm new to this board myself so I really can't give any advice, but I can tell you that I, too, have recently started a gluten-free diet on my own. I am 10 days into the diet and have already noticed a major change in my "bathroom issues" to put it as delicately as possible. :)

I have had these "issues" for 10 years. Only in the last 2 years has it gotten much, much worse. Diarrhea 2-6 times/daily, urgent need to go, etc. Very miserable. Try not to leave the house until at least noon - 1:00. The bathroom has dictated my life.

Have been doing research, and reading a lot about Celiac's Disease, and intolerance/sensitivity to wheat. So I decided to try a gluten-free diet on my own and as I said I've had major improvements already.

I don't have young children in the house, it's just myself and my husband but I'm not making him follow the same diet. I don't feel it's fair to make him cut wheat out when he doesn't need to so I will be cooking separate meals for myself sometimes. It doesn't have to be all the time, like a couple of days ago I cooked a nice beef roast along with potatoes, carrots and onions. We both could eat that. He had bread too, I just avoided that.

Yesterday I did go to the local health food store and bought $25 worth of gluten-free products. I bought a loaf of tapioca bread, $5.19 so pretty pricey and a very small loaf. I made a sandwich and could only choke down half of it. The bread is horrible. Very yeasty-tasting. Yuck. I'm going to try toasting it and add butter and homemade blackberry jelly and see if I can eat it that way.

I bought a box of Erewhon strawberry crisp cereal and had some this morning, very tasty. Reminded me of Special K. I would buy that again.

I also bought a bag of Tinkyada penne pasta, and am anxious to try that.

My "bathroom issues" have gone down to only once, maybe twice, in the early morning and I'm done for the day. It is awesome!!

I am still taking Bentyl for the irritable bowel syndrome that I was "diagnosed" with, but I have a diabetic check-up next Thursday so I will be talking to my doctor about my new gluten-free diet, and to see if I should discontinue the Bentyl.

Like I said, I'm new here, but I have already gotten a lot of good, sound advice and keep reading daily to learn more. Good luck to you!

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Have you had a celiac panel run? I would think that is a logical step before you try to eliminate gluten. You MUST be eating gluten for this test to be accurate. If you eliminate gluten and your dr suspects celiac, you'll find yourself in a pickle if she suggests the bloodwork.

Were they specifically looking for celiac during your endoscopy? If not, it wouldn't have a lot of meaning.

The symptoms you describe are familiar.

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So a little history:

Me: 38 yrs old. No history of GI issues. Last 5 yrs issue with iron deficient anemia (not severe).

About 10 mos ago started having issues with major acid reflux, heartburn, feeling of fullness, bloating, diarrhea, gassy.

Dr put me on Prilosec 2x daily. Worked great - at about 85% improvement for acid reflux. Lately have been experiencing major diarrhea (sudden urges to use bathroom after just going pee 10 mins prior, very fatty/floating particles) and then experienced 2 days of constipation. Now experiencing bloating, fullness again with still sudden urges to have BM but no diarrhea, just feeling of incomplete evacuation. Very gassy and uncomfortable. still some minor acid reflux.

Oh, and had endoscopy done about 3 mos ago (upper) - signs of irritation in stomach, nothing in first parts of upper bowels, bx of stomach was negative. Thyroid normal, borderline normal iron levels. No results yet on Vit D test.

So my question is: My dr has suggested that I try a gluten-free diet to see if that helps my symptoms. She is leaning towards IBS as a diagnosis but thought going gluten-free might help. I am alittle bit hesitant to try the diet just b/c I would either have to do it alone (more costly option) or have the entire family on it with small children that aren't necessarily the greatest eaters (not always into new things) (not as costly but I am sure will still increase my food budget). But i am also hesitant b/c my dr mentioned that I don't have to start reading all labels right away, just eliminate all major/main sources of gluten (bread, pasta for example) and that any incidental glutens can be taken out later when I am more committed to the diet and ready to read labels. To me that seems a little fishy because I figure that gluten is gluten but she thought that small sources of gluten won't irritate me as much as a major influx would. Do people have various degrees of tolerance of gluten? Is it feasible to start the diet this way? how much preparation does one need for this? Do people go cold turkey or gradually introduce gluten-free products? I guess I am also thinking about all of the groceries that I have right now that I would have to throw away to really go whole hog with this thing.

Thanks for reading this and sorry for the length. Thank you for any suggestions/help that you can provide :)

take care.

You sound much like me. I am going through the process of being tested.

I had the blood work done and it did show signs of Celiac. So for 1 week I took my self off all gluten. HUGE improvement. Then I went to the GI and he told me to start eating gluten again for the biopsy, needless to say, I feel horrible!!! All of the symptoms are back.

I am scheduled for the biopsy to be done on the 30th, but I am going to call today and see if another dr. in the practice can do it earlier. Like tomorrow! But I don't know if taking the week off and being back on gluten for 10 days will be enough to get a positive reading.

Good luck!

Susan

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I bought a loaf of tapioca bread, $5.19 so pretty pricey and a very small loaf. I made a sandwich and could only choke down half of it. The bread is horrible. Very yeasty-tasting. Yuck. I'm going to try toasting it and add butter and homemade blackberry jelly and see if I can eat it that way.

I think I know what kind you are talking about. All the gluten free bread that is premade taste like crap too me. It tastes terrible and it's too expensive. However, I made "Gluten Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix" in my bread machine and it was really good!

It came out moist and soft, just perfect for sandwiches. This is the only gluten free bread I have found to be tasty, but you do have to make it.

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Thanks for the info!

Celiac disease has never really been mentioned by my dr she just suggested taking out gluten to see if that alleviated my symptoms and my research led me to this forum. She initially said that she was thinking I had IBS but with that having no cure she suggested eliminating gluten. I am thinking I am going to call her and ask to have a referral to a GI doctor to get more information. She also mentioned gluten-free diet because I am trying to lose weight and she thought it would be a healthy option for me.

Also, my upper GI endoscopy was only done to rule out an ulcer.

Are there not degrees of sensitivity to gluten? is it really an all or nothing for everyone? I guess I am thinking about if I am the only one going gluten-free in my family there will really be way (being realistic with myself) that I can not have small/miniscule amounts of cross-contamination. I may post another topic regarding this issue.

and just an FYI - I have gone now about 20 hours gluten-free and I haven't been gassy or bloated all day. hmmmmm interesting. lol

thanks!

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