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Gluten_Freed

Recovery Time For Bowel Issues

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I was wondering how long it takes after starting a gluten-free diet to see large improvements with bowel issues and bloating. I started a gluten-free diet two weeks ago in response to positive blood tests / confirming biopsy. Since then, I've been gaining weight and have more energy. However, I haven't seen as much improvement with bowel issues.

As far as this lifestyle change to gluten-free, I know I'm doing a pretty good job by not eating out, even at places with gluten-free options for now, and watching for cross-contamination by checking manufactures' practices for unclear items. I'm also watching for hidden sources of gluten, e.g. vitamins, soup bases.

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Everyone is different as far as how fast they heal and start feeling better. It seems that those that have less damage to their system (are in the earlier stages of the disease) heal the fastest and those that have the most damage take the longest to heal. You'll need to be patient which is difficult, I know! I have a lot of damage to my system and am having a difficult time healing. It has been a little over a year on the diet for me and I figured out through help on this forum that I needed to eliminate a lot of other foods besides gluten to really feel better. My brother is in the early stages of the disease and he responded to the gluten free diet very quickly. Hang in there! I know it is difficult. I about had a melt down last week due to frustration with all of this, but I've bounced back.

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Personally, although my diarrhea pretty much disappeared after a month, my stools were still soft until I had strictly adhered to the diet for a full 18 months. At that time, I felt "normal" for the first time in years. Everyone, though, is different....and as the previous poster mentioned, it depends on how damaged your villi are. I will say that taking L-Glutamine helped the healing process.

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It really depends on how well you stay strictly gluten-free in your diet, and how fast you heal as an individual person. Two weeks is just scratching the surface though. That doesn't mean you won't start feeling better soon. You can help things along by taking probiotics, avoiding sugar and starches (they turn to sugar), avoiding processed foods and eating out, avoiding CC, avoiding alcohol (hard on the gut), and trying some digestive enzymes with your meals. But the gluten-free diet really is a process, not an instant fix. Your body makes immune cells to attack invaders and it likes to be ready for the fight all the time. It needs time to settle down and stop making those immune cells and it won't do that instantly. It probably takes a couple to 3 or 4 weeks for them to settle down after a hit. The other thing that goes on when you start gluten-free is the bacteria in your gut change in response to your changed diet. That can lead to lots of gas as some strains overgrow and multiply like bunnies .Sugar and starches feed that overgrowth. Undigested foods feed it too. That's why people with lactose intolerance have problems with massive gas, their gut doesn't digest the lactose sugar so the bacteria munch it down and multiply. Basically the bacteria fart in your guts, but there are lots of the little buggers doing it so it adds up. Ok, that wasn't very scientific, but I hope you get the idea.

Following a simple diet with simple foods is a good way to go. The fewer separate things you are eating the fewer things there are to analyze. You may end up having some additional intolerances but I wouldn't worry about identifying those for 6 months or so. Learning to eat gluten-free is enough to concentrate on for a while.

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Hey Rosetapper23 - did you have to eliminate any other food to feel better or just doing gluten free for 18 months was what was needed?

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I only eliminated gluten; however, I've never been able to tolerate soy, oats, or iodine, so I continued to avoid them, too. I don't have any problems with dairy.

You will notice that you incrementally feel better over time and little by little your stools will become more solid. You'll just need patience. I was 47, so if you're younger, you may heal faster than I did.

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Good to hear Rosetapper23. I've been gluten free for a little over a year and have been frustrated that going gluten free has not resolved everything. I don't have D anymore but I still have issues with loose stools. My GI doc said this should not be happening anymore. I've started doing the specific carbohydrate diet with some success although I sometimes wonder if the good stools I have are just due to all the hard cheeses I eat (I wonder if that just glues everything together). I haven't looked into iodine. Not sure what it is in besides salt. I got diagnosed at 37 so I'm not that young either. It gives me hope to hear about others that take a little longer but do recover. :)

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Newbee,

You only have to worry about iodine if you have Dermatitis Herpetiformis, the rash that some celiacs develop. If you DO have a rash and wish to eliminate iodine, it is most commonly found in iodized salt, seafood, salty snacks (e.g., crackers, chips, fries, popcorn, processed foods, etc.), asparagus, and some dairy (depends on your locale).

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Everyone is different. My issues (the big C) became much worse after going gluten-free, for whatever reason. I am 2+ years now and still struggle. It is better, much better, but the problem is still there. Remember that you spent years getting to this point and you can't undo all of the damage in a short period of time.

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