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xJalin

Stuttering And Gluten?

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I'm new to the forum so hopefully this is in the right place! I'm 18 years old and have not been tested for celiac yet, but I believe, taking account of the symptoms I have, that I am celiac. My older sister (foster sister) thought she had celiac, so she started the gluten-free diet. She didn't follow through with the diet, but she and my mother learned a lot about it. When I was 7, I became a stutterer. I had no emotional trauma to trigger it. My parents did stutter when they were younger, but only when they were nervous. My stuttering got worse, and worse, and worse throughout the years (depression joined in too), and today it takes great effort to speak a single word. Lately, I have had a lot of "brain fog" which tends to complicate my stuttering issues even more (being unsure of what I'm saying). I have also had stomach troubles all my life- constipation, acid reflux, gas- and one night eating out at a restaurant 3 years ago, I had an awful stomach spasm- searing pain that comes and goes as if someone is stabbing you repeatedly in the stomach. It happened quite a few times after that, mostly when I ate out at restaurants (and unfortunately, mostly when it was a friends birthday party :( Way to take the attention off them, lol). At the time, I blamed all my stomach troubles on my lactose intolerance, and blamed the fettuccine alfredo sauce instead of the noodles. But now, I believe it may be otherwise. My mom made the possible connection between my neurological problems and gluten, and mentioned that my sleeping difficulties, stomach problems, and stuttering all started when I was 7.

My questions are, do these sound related? Also, how long would it take to see results if I went completely gluten-free? My mom is really good at making sure there are no traces of gluten in the food I eat, and looking for hidden traces. I doubt that going gluten-free would cure my stutter completely, but is there a possibility that it would help?

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Hi xJalin,

Welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry to hear about your symptoms, and as someone whose gluten intolerance has caused speech disturbances, I can tell you that, at least broadly, gluten problems can cause speech troubles. It certainly causes brain fog as well. That said, you really need to begin the process of being evaluated by a doctor...

You need to go to your general practitioner and ask for the celiac panel blood test - see the specific tests below - and continue to eat gluten until the testing is over. You need gluten in your system to get accurate results. That is really tough and is a personal decision, but it is key if you want a definitive diagnosis. Also, it will be helpful when evaluating for associated conditions.

Tests to get:

Anti-Gliadin (AGA) IgA

Anti-Gliadin (AGA) IgG

Anti-Endomysial (EMA) IgA

Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA

Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG

Total Serum IgA

Also, keep a food log and try to identify any possible triggers - food, environmental, social - for both your physical and verbal symptoms. And perhaps most important, try to cultivate self-compassion; dealing with the anxiety caused by any health problem is a challenge, so make sure you are in your own corner!

I have to make this comment fast due to time constraints, but please keep us posted! Good luck.

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Hi Xjalin,

In your post you mentioned sleep issues - what kinds of issues are you having?

While it definitely sounds like you've got gut issues independent of your sleep, poor sleep can lead to all sorts of neurological issues, including stuttering. Has your doctor ever recommended a sleep study?

Also, if you explore the celiac route and don't find any answers there, you might want to explore food allergies and intolerances to both natural and artificial food chemicals. Some people have very strong reactions to chemicals that occur naturally in foods, even really healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, called amines, salicylates and glutamates. And then of course there's food additives like artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Sensitivities to any of these chemicals can cause all manner of issues from neurological, physiological to emotional.

Here's an easy-to-understand introduction to food chemical sensitivities. And you'll also find an abundance of information at fedup - a site dedicated to chemical sensitivities.

I really hope you start finding some answers :)

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Hi again :)

I also should have mentioned that food sensitivities/ allergies can definitely affect sleep - some can make you feel wired, have vivid dreams, night terrors and/ or generally contribute to a restless night's sleep.

Having said that, there can be many other causes for sleep problems as well. :blink:

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Hi Xjalin,

In your post you mentioned sleep issues - what kinds of issues are you having?

While it definitely sounds like you've got gut issues independent of your sleep, poor sleep can lead to all sorts of neurological issues, including stuttering. Has your doctor ever recommended a sleep study?

Actually, I don't have any serious sleeping problems so I don't think that caused my neurological issues. I just spend many hours trying to fall asleep at nights, but I think that is mostly due to the anxiety feelings I have.

Thanks so much for the replies, I really appreciate it! And I will keep you posted :)

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Hi xJalin,

From your post it sounds like there is an anxiety component to your stuttering. Actually, anxiety is commonly expressed via stuttering. Many people who suffer from Celiac or gluten intolerance develop anxiety or depression as part of their symptomatology. So, YES, going off of gluten might help with your stutter!

I agree that it is probably time to go and check with your primary care physician. However, the serum celiac blood tests (basilicious mentioned them) have a false negative rate of about 20-30%, so that's something to beware of. Aside from that, if you decide to proceed with an endoscopy and biopsy (which also has a false negative error rate) be sure not to stop eating gluten!! (I made that mistake...)

Good luck! Keep us posted. :)

~Laura

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