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A Long Introduction (Please Bear With Me) :)

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Dear all,

I've just joined the forum, after reading through some of the posts. I've been having a number of GI symptoms since the beginning of 2011, and the doctors have still not come up with a conclusive diagnosis.

I'm 32 y/o male. During the first half of 2011 I tended to be bloated most of the time, seemingly regardless of what I ate (which at that time was a lot of processed food, pizzas, pasta etc), and I also started having dizzy spells. I thought those would go away, so I just ignored them. By May I started having diarrhea and that's when I first went to see my doctor. Her diagnosis was dyspepsia and I was given antacids. While they helped initially, within a month most of the symptoms were back, compounded with a persistent lump-like feeling in the stomach. Additional tests showed presence of Helicobacter and Candida. By August I completed eradication therapy and was feeling somewhat better, although throughout that period I kept losing weight (my appetite was poor, so I ascribed it to that). In early September all of the symptoms came back, even though tests showed no presence of either Helicobacter or Candida. I had endoscopy done and it didn't show anything, I was just given more antacids, and the doctor simply confirmed the initial diagnosis of dyspepsia (no sample was taken - they explained they would take one only if any tissue "looked suspicious", which it didn't). Some time in October the stomach discomfort stopped, all of a sudden, even though at that time I was on no medication, which came as a huge relief.

However, it was roughly at that time that other problems appeared that I had never had prior to that: borborygmi (usually early in the morning), constant feeling of pressure/discomfort under the right rib cage and downward, toward the appendix - sometimes there's a feeling of pressure or pulsation, but not pain as such, in the whole abdominal area. Dizzy spells also returned, stool keeps constantly changing (one day it's normal, the next it's watery and pale, then normal color but floating and smelly...) and while I gained some weight around the New Year, by February I lost it again. In December I had additional blood and stool tests done which showed only elevated levels of Bilirubin, everything else was in the normal range, and based on those tests I was diagnosed with Gilbert's Syndrome - which I was told was not clinically relevant anyway. Ultrasound showed nothing wrong with the gallbladder or any of the other organs. I kept telling myself that it must be Candida, as I could relate to most of the things I found online (brain fog, mood swings, general feeling of being unwell, tiredness, feeling of weakness, weight loss, frequent burping even on empty stomach, other GI problems...), but my doctor dismissed it, since no samples tested positive to it since June last year. I was really disappointed when she said that my symptoms were probably connected to Gilbert's Syndrome and that there's nothing to be done about it - that I would simply have to learn to live with it. I find that hard to believe, and I'm certainly not willing to just give up like that.

Next week I have an appointment with a new doctor, a specialist - should I mention Celiac Disease (I'm guessing they won't unless I raise it first)? Can anyone relate to my symptoms, could this be Celiac Disease at all? I should add that I've also had eczema (or something like that) appearing on my right arm on and off for the past several years - usually in exact same spots, that I've had yellowing of teeth in spite or regular dental hygiene and that as a boy I started gaining height when I was 14 or 15, hitting puberty somewhat later than my classmates - I read somewhere that those could also be some of the signs. Anyway, I wouldn't want to waste more time testing for something I'm not likely to have. Needless to say, I'm extremely worried and would just want to see the end to this downward spiral and whatever is causing it.

I would really appreciate any response. Many thanks!

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Hello Aaron, and welcome. Yes, I would certainly ask to be tested for celiac disease. It may not be what you have but so many of the symptoms match that the diagnosis would seem to be a likely fit. By the way, you cannot tell using the naked eye in an endoscopy whether the celiac damage is present; that is why they take biopsies and view them under the microscope :rolleyes: If the damage is really severe it is visible, but you don't really want to have that much damage :unsure: Much better to catch it early. Believe it or not, a year is a very short time to have had symptoms on the celiac diagnosis scale, so if that is your problem your damage may not be severe. I think you are heading in the right direction. Do let us know how your appointment turns out.

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