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IHateMyStomach

I Really Need Help, Badly!

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I stopped drinking milk many years ago because I would get really bad stomachaches about an hour after consumption or the next morning. The stomachaches came with killer gas pains that were mainly in my chest, back, and sometimes my shoulders oddly enough. And of course, I would get diarrhea. As for other dairy products, I would get the same symptoms from ice cream, chocolate milk,etc. Although, chocolate milk wasn't as bad, I could drink a glass of it and get away with just gas. I've never had a problem with cheese though, and I eat a lot of it, especially since I don't eat meant and I eat a lot of pastas and spaghetti. Just so you know, I don't look for foods that have lactose or milk in it. Although, I do avoid foods where you have to add milk, such as certain processed noodles that require milk for the sauce.

I also noticed there are certain foods that I can't eat without feeling like I'm going to vomit, which are:

  • Cookies
  • Eggs
  • Protein powders (added with water)
  • Multivitamins (I know it's not food, but worth a mention. Yes, I took them with food.)
  • A lot of cake (as in more than 3 regular sized slices)
  • Muffins
  • Waffles
  • Certain kinds of pancakes

Even though I can't eat those foods without feeling like I'm going to vomit, most foods seem to be bad for me. Here is how I feel after I eat most of everything:

  • Gas
  • Stomach bloating (I can make myself look pregnant right after eating)
  • Feeling really tired, like I could pass out for years
  • Nausea (Never vomiting)
  • and genuinely just ill, sometimes like I've come down with a sickness.

Now, I should mention that I'm a 5' 11" 22 year old male and it has been hard for me to eat to gain weight, because I feel so sick after I eat most of the time. I noticed one time, I went to New Jersey with my girlfriend and we ate a lot of diner food (also made me feel sick) and I gained a lot of weight, at least 15 pounds. A week after being home, I had really bad stomach problems and I lost all of the weight I gained in a week or two, which I've always thought it was weird of how fast I lose weight even though I might not be eating enough to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight. I guess you could say I'm starting to grow a fear of eating food, because I feel so sick all of the time.

To be honest with you here, I just don't feel healthy right now and I always feel sick and tired. I don't feel like I have any energy. I'm eating enough food and I'm not starving myself, but it's just a mission at times. When it comes to using the bathroom, it seems like I can eat a lot of food, but I never have to go number 2 a lot. The amount of waste that comes out of me doesn't add up to the amount I'm putting in. I went to the hospital not too long ago to see if I was diabetic or had hypoglycemia. They took a blood test and a x-ray, they both came back negative of any problems when it came to those two things. Apparently I wasn't backed up too bad or had any serious injuries to my stomach, or it would have showed in the x-ray I assume.

So, I don't know of this means that I'm gluten intolerant or if I'm just lactose intolerant, and I should start looking for foods that don't have lactose in them. The weirdest thing is, I'm not able to eat a lot of cheese anymore, which is a big disappointment. It seems like the amount of lactose I can consume is becoming less. Another thing that might relate to this is, I've been having really bad sinus problems right now and I figured it's just the time of the year, the weather is changing. Running nose, pressure in my forehead, headaches, etc. I've had these sinus like symptoms for almost two months now. I haven't really left the house much since being on break from college.

And well, I haven't been to a doctor yet because of health insurance reasons. Being 22 and full time student doesn't mean you qualify for good health insurance sadly.

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You should get a celiac panel if you can. That is the first step for diagnosis. The next step is usually an endoscopic exam of your small intestine. Both of those tests do have a chance of a false negative though.

If you have no insurance you do have the option of going on the diet strictly for a few months and seeing if your issues resolve. However if you do that and then decide later on that you want the testing you will have to do a gluten challenge for about 3 months before testing.

It is common for us to have lactose intolerance because the area damaged by gluten is the same area that produces the enzymes we need to digest dairy. Some of us are able to go back to eating dairy once we have fully healed.

Oh and one last note, do your parents have good insurance? If they do college students under the age of 26 are now allowed to stay on their parents health insurance. Perhaps your parents could add you back to their policy?

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Hi IHMS,

Your symptoms could be celiac or gluten intolerance. The diagnosis is of variable value to people. Some people really need to have a doctor tell them they are celiac, others go on the gluten-free diet and stay on it based on their symptoms. There may be some accomadation that your school could make with your food plan if you are diagnosed, although I am not sure that is a requirement. The really simple answer is if it makes you sick, don't eat it. But it can take a while to figure out all the things that make a person sick also. Some of us do an elimination diet to figure that out.

Lactose intolerance is one of the classic symptoms of celiac though. The villi of the small intestine make an enzyme that digests lactose. When those villi are damaged or destroyed, there is no enzyme so the lactose sugar gets eaten by bacteria instead. The bacteria really love lactose though and have a great time reproducing and making gas etc. So that causes gas and bloating.

Welcome to the site and please stick around and ask questions and read too.

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First, eliminating dairy for awhile could really help with the sinus issues.

You can read about the full "celiac panel", a group of tests to determine if you are sensitive to gluten in an autoimmune way.

http://medschool.umaryland.edu/celiac/faq.asp#blood

You may be able to get these tests done on your own at www.directlabs.com or a simlar company. Their customer service is helpful. Or, start calling doctors, explain about your insurance and finances and ask what they would charge you.

And start saving your cash if you want a formal diagnosis. Because you shouldn't stop eating gluten until the testing is complete.

You can stop eating dairy, eggs, anything else that is bothering you if you can construct a reasonably nutritous diet. This can increase your comfort level while you are working things out.

Consider taking some vitamin D, and having that and your iron levels checked if you do have bloodwork done.

Here's a checklist about who should test for celiac. If it applies to you, going for the formal DX could be the way to go. If not, and you are the kind of person that does not need that sort of validation, then you can try the gluten-free diet - strictly - for several months and see if you improve. You still need to save up, because it might not be gluten and you may need more tests, to see a doc, etc.

Health Questionaire from Dr.Peter Green's book: Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic

Section 1 Symptoms

Experienced at least once a week during the past 3 months

bloating

gas and/or stomach cramping

diarrhea or runny stools

constipation

joint pain

numbness or tingling in your extremities

itchy skin lesions

constant unexplained fatigue

frequent headaches or migraines

Section II Diagnoses

Have been diagnosed with any of the following:

irritable bowel syndrome

eczema or unexplained contact dermatitis

fibromyalgia

chronic fatigue syndrome

nervous stomach (non-ulcer dyspepsia)

Section III Associated Illnesses

Do you have any of the following:

Lactose intolerance

ostopeia and/or osteoporosis

autoimmune disorders (thyroid disease, hypo or hyper, Type I diabetes, Sjogrens syndrome, chronic liver disease)

an immediate family member with an autoimmune condition

peripheral neuropathy

non-Hodgkins lymphona

psychiatric disorders or depression

small intestinal cancer

anemia

infertility

If you checked one or more lines in either Section I or II and have ANY of the illnesses in section III, test for celiac disease, especially males or women under 45 with osteopenia/osteoporosis.

If you have checks in all 3 sections, you and your doctors should definitely explore a celiac diagnosis.

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Hi. I would definitely 100% do the celiac panel first and foremost.

Something else comes to my mind right away, and that is an inability to digest certain sugars well. It looks like your diet is fairly high in carbohydrates. I recently tried something called the low fodmap diet. Fodmaps are sugars that ferment quickly in the bodies of some folks, making them full of gas and discomfort and fatigue and ... (many potential symptoms). When I cut out all the high fodmap foods, I stopped being bloated probably within seven days. I started to feel better all around - fatigue got better (admittedly, I also started taking iron supplementation), stomach felt better, etc.

If you google it, you can find out more info like which foods to eat and which not to. The idea is to take them out of the diet and then stabilize (hopefully get better) and then add them back one family at a time to see which families bother you. To be honest, I've felt so much better that I have not wanted to add any of them back in. So I pretty much eat low fodmap all the time and will probably continue to do so.

Something to consider.

Small bowel bacterial overgrowth is another one, but I do think also that high fodmap foods, in folks that are prone to poorly digest them, will contribute to that.

Good luck to you.

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