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Fairy Dancer

Gluten Problem Or Ibs?

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Hi, I am new here but I was wondering about whether or not I could have a possible gluten problem. My reason for this is that for the last 10 years or so, on and off, I have been having some digestive system and bowel issues. On top of that I have other more generalised symptoms including fatigue, feeling generally unwell, and dental issues (I do not know if it is related but basically my teeth, particularly my back teeth, are breaking a apart and I have lost many of them as a result). My digestive issues include acid reflux, abdominal cramps, needing to use the loo up to 8 times a day, stools that are not watery but which are soft, float and basically smell rancid.

Basically I am fed up with feeling ill all the time and having an upset stomach. I did see my dr about my digestive issues some 6 years ago and was told it was IBS. However I was given no tests for anything as he just went by my symptoms, looked at my record and saw that I suffer from depression and anxiety, and concluded it was that.

In regards to the fatigue, a year earlier I addressed that with another dr. They did do routine blood tests that time which all came back normal except for a slightly elevated white cell count indicating a 'possible viral infection' so at first they concluded it was that. 6 Months later the symptoms were still with me (feeling very flu like etc) and I asked them to repeat the blood tests. They would not as they said that a virus does not last that long. Again they looked at my record and concluded that it was depression and anxiety even though at that time my mood was not actually low.

It was shortly after that that the digestive symptoms started getting worse.

Over the years they have fluctuated and do tend to vary in intensity but I do not know why. At the moment they are at their worst. I follow the dietary advice for IBS and eat lots of whole grains etc but its really not helping lol.

I am not happy that they just push my digestive issues aside as I have quite a family history of digestive disorders. On the extreme end of the scale (and I highly doubt that after all this time this is my issue or I would probably know by now!) my dad died from cancer of the oesophagus and my mums dad from cancer of the stomach. On the less extreme end my mother had diabetes type 2 (although she was not over weight, in fact she was underweight, had no fat on her arms and legs and had a very distended bloated abdomen) and digestive issues herself (she was not diagnosed with Celiacs but IBS and had a range of medications for it). My half brother also developed diabetes type 2 in his late 30's but he was over weight. My other half brother was diagnosed with celiacs disease when he was a child (back in the 60s) but I don't think my mother was tested at the time as it was considered to be a rare childhood disorder back then.

I try not to be a hypochondriac about it but my digestive system is malfunctioning for some reason and with my family history I want to know why!

However, I should note that despite my digestive system symptoms I am over weight, not under weight.

Would it be worth my trying a gluten free diet for a while? Or is it most likely IBS as the dr said and should I keep up with all the whole grains instead?

Suggestions, opinions and advice welcomed.

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IBS is not a diagnosis. it is a set of symptoms and a label they give you when they don't know what causes those symptoms. I was overweight as well and drs told me to eat more whole grains and just exercise more and I wouldn't feel so fatigued. The more wheat I ate the sicker I got until I was bed bound from pain and fatigue. Give the diet a try if you can't get them to test you for celiac. Just be aware that you cannot get a positive test result if you stop eating gluten. You would need ot add it back in for 3 months prior to testing. So IF you will need that positive in order to stick with the diet then have your testing done FIRST. If you think you will stick with it when you see the results you can just try the diet. You have to do it strictly however in order to see if it works. If you have celiac, any small amount will keep your antibodies active and can keep having symptoms. Also be aware that some of the neurological symptoms could take 6 months or more to go away. Everyone's time frame for healing is different so don't give up if you see no results in the first week.

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You say about the smell of the stools and that they float. Do they also stick to the toilet bowl? I know my daughters are the same, she goes two to three times a day. I've looked up symptoms of celiac disease and IBS myself as my Coeliacs test came back neg yet I still get stomach cramps, wind, bloating occasionally but it all sounds one in the same (I know its not though). It sounds like you need the celiac disease test to rule this out. Perhaps cutting out certain foods like dairy or gluten could help you find out the problem. But I would say test first and see what happens from that.

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IBS is not a diagnosis. it is a set of symptoms and a label they give you when they don't know what causes those symptoms. I was overweight as well and drs told me to eat more whole grains and just exercise more and I wouldn't feel so fatigued. The more wheat I ate the sicker I got until I was bed bound from pain and fatigue. Give the diet a try if you can't get them to test you for celiac. Just be aware that you cannot get a positive test result if you stop eating gluten. You would need ot add it back in for 3 months prior to testing. So IF you will need that positive in order to stick with the diet then have your testing done FIRST. If you think you will stick with it when you see the results you can just try the diet. You have to do it strictly however in order to see if it works. If you have celiac, any small amount will keep your antibodies active and can keep having symptoms. Also be aware that some of the neurological symptoms could take 6 months or more to go away. Everyone's time frame for healing is different so don't give up if you see no results in the first week.

Hi

Is there a good comprehensive list of foods and food additives I should avoid if I try the gluten free diet? I am familiar with some of the obvious stuff such as bread, pasta, wheat flour etc as when my brother lived with us (he was much older than me though) as a child my mother had to make sure he had a gluten free diet so most of our meals were based on meat/poultry/fish and vegetables. She also avoided pre made gravy mixes and used to make gravy with bisto power, cornflour and oxo I think. So I have some limited experience of what to avoid but I was quite young back then and obviously food these days include a lot of additives, especially if they are heavily processed.

And on that subject what about chocolate? Not that I eat a lot of it these days but I do like the odd sweet treat lol

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You say about the smell of the stools and that they float. Do they also stick to the toilet bowl? I know my daughters are the same, she goes two to three times a day. I've looked up symptoms of celiac disease and IBS myself as my Coeliacs test came back neg yet I still get stomach cramps, wind, bloating occasionally but it all sounds one in the same (I know its not though). It sounds like you need the celiac disease test to rule this out. Perhaps cutting out certain foods like dairy or gluten could help you find out the problem. But I would say test first and see what happens from that.

It can stick if I don't aim properly and it hits the side of the pan yes lol.

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Hi

Is there a good comprehensive list of foods and food additives I should avoid if I try the gluten free diet? I am familiar with some of the obvious stuff such as bread, pasta, wheat flour etc as when my brother lived with us (he was much older than me though) as a child my mother had to make sure he had a gluten free diet so most of our meals were based on meat/poultry/fish and vegetables. She also avoided pre made gravy mixes and used to make gravy with bisto power, cornflour and oxo I think. So I have some limited experience of what to avoid but I was quite young back then and obviously food these days include a lot of additives, especially if they are heavily processed.

And on that subject what about chocolate? Not that I eat a lot of it these days but I do like the odd sweet treat lol

Here's a list of unsafe ingredients: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

It is best however to startout with the basics of meat, fruit and vegetables and avoid processed gluten-free foods. The reason is that there are no standards/laws for labeling gluten-free in the US. Some companies to avoid that label their items "gluten-free" but use barely water in the processign include: Rice Dream milk and Food for Life. If you eat mostly lean meats, vegetables and fruit you may also lose weight since you would be eating mostly low carb.

Most pure chocolate bars will be fine Gluten-wise, just read the labels. However, also be aware that you could develop an intolerance to other foods (most common being dairy) when you go gluten free. For some people this is temporary and they can add dairy back in later. Read lots on this board and you will find answers to most of your questiosn about specific foods. You can search the board usign the google search in the upper right corner. Or just use google and search "is ____ gluten free?" and you will get answers for most everything. Do pay attention to the date the posts were made however and always double check the labels as companies do frequently change their formulas. So you never know when things may go from being safe to conatianign gluten. That's another reason i stick with mostly whole, unprocessed foods--less stress and time spent reading labels. in the grocery store.

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