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Sika

Bowel/rectal Trouble - Maybe Celiac? Eat Or Avoid Gluten Before Testing?

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Hi,

This is my first post. I have a tendency to ramble but I will try my best to keep this short.

[Having just finished writing the post, I completely failed in my attempts to be brief. Sorry. If you want a summary: my symptoms are rectal bleeding and pain, extreme bloatedness when eating gluten, fatigue and foggy brain and weakness/lethargy for years, anemia on and off for years. I have a colonoscopy soon to test for polyps/cancer/hemarroids etc, but I'm wondering if the actual problem is a gluten intolerance or celiacs. I'm not sure whether to stop gluten altogether to try and feel better, or eat more to ensure I can get an accurate test result. More, unnecessary details are below.]

Nearly a year ago I was having excrutiating pain on bowel movements, and some rectal bleeding. The doctor said it was an anal fissure (without an examination) and it would go away. Friends mentioned gluten intolerance/celiac and in the hope that avoiding gluten might help me feel better (or at least make passing stools easier), I went gluten free for a few weeks. My symptoms cleared up, but this could just be coincidence. When I 'accidentally' or *had* to eat gluten (e.g. at a dinner party), I had severe cramps for hours but I guess that's just because my body wasn't used to it. Anyway, I slowly began eating gluten again every now and then but tried to never have more than the equivalent of about 2 slices of bread a day.

I should add that prior to my gluten-free period, I had extreme bloating - looking like I was 5+ months pregnant. I had looked like this the prior time I had been smoke free- the bloating seems to go away when I smoke cigarettes, then comes back when I quit. No it's not 'fat' but rock hard bloatedness. I've now quit smoking again (for the last time).

Other symptoms included a whole array of physical and mental problems. Extreme fatigue, mental fogginess, unable to think clearly or concentrate, general weakness, shakiness. I have been like this for years, but it has always been treated as depression. I have had depression years ago, and the 'depression' of the last few years is nothing like the previous depression. I keep trying to tell doctors it feels physical rather than mental. My mood itself has been okay - except for being miserable about feeling so yuck all the time.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, I was found to be anemic. And the severe rectal pain and bleeding came back. I thought it was just an anal fissure again, but the pain got too unbearable so I went back to the doctor who examined me and said it wasn't a fissure. He is arranging for me to have a colonoscopy and I am really scared about cancer at this stage. My grandmother died very young of a cancer and I think it was bowel cancer.

My friends again suggested celiac as a 'cause' of all this. My gluten intake is pretty minimal, but perhaps just a bit is enough. If I am celiac I want to really *know*. So I thought the best thing was to increase my gluten intake for 6 weeks before I have a blood test. Today I've had a pastry thing, pasta and garlic bread and the 5 months pregnant bloating is back, along with serious cramping. It makes me worry I won't be able to keep it up for 6 weeks. And I'm scared this will make the bowel movement pain and bleeding even worse (actually, I'm not sure that is possible). To be honest, if I do have celiac disease, that would make this whole thing much less scary than cancer. So part of me wonders if I am making it all up. Why don't doctors ever think about celiac? Why are there so many different symptoms of celiac disease?

And then there's my family:

Grandmother: Chronic diarrhea for years, dairy allergy, "IBS"

Mother: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fuzzy head, unexplained seizures, bloatedness, headaches

Daughter: Regularly feels 'sick' - weak, shakey, nauseous, just not right, can't cope with crowded/busy places

Could we be 4 generations of women with undiagnosed celiacs disease? Or is it just that anything could be attributed to celiac's/gluten intolerance?

Sorry for the length and what I feel is a really incoherent post. I really just need to get some of my thoughts out of my head. The bloatedness today makes me think that there actually may be something going on with me and gluten. Has anyone else had rectal bleeding and pain with this? Should I keep trying to eat gluten so I can be tested? Should I put my daughter on a gluten-free diet? (She has a needle-phobia so can't have a blood test. At the moment I've got her to keep a food-feeling diary for a week, then we might try 2 weeks without gluten). ANy thoughts/advice??? Thanks for listening anyway.

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