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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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Guest Kalynn

Degenerative Disc Disease

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Guest Kalynn

I began getting really sick last July and the docs never could figure out what was wrong with me. I had the diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, body aches, extreme fatigue, the constant pain under my left ribs and lost close to 20 pounds to mention a few. Towards the end of it all, I started having pain in my lower left back. A few weeks later, I got this horrible muscle spasm in my left leg and it has hurt off and on since then. The docs ordered an MRI and my back and it shows degenerative disc disease. The neuro says that everyone will get it eventually, but not usually until your in your sixties or so. I am 37. He said while it's not unheard of for people my age to get it, it is uncommon.

Has anyone else been diagnosed with this? Have you been told that it's related to gluten intolerence?

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Don't know if it's related to gluten intolerance, but, out of 24 possible discs that are in your back, all but 7 of mine are either bulging or herniated. I also have "osteophytosis" on the front of my vertebrae -- a growth of calcium that usually comes about in your late 50's or early 60's. I'm 43. The docs just shrug their shoulders as to WHY my vertebral column is like that. I'm a PT -- and have been in a very physical job, but shouldn't have that much damage and degeneration. Don't know what to tell you, but I'm in the same boat. . . . Lynne

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I don't know either but I had 3 really badly herniated disks that took 2 years to heal and a factured vertebrae that still has not healed after 4 years. I was an elite athlete and it was an injury of sorts but now the doctors are starting to think it wasn't an injury after all as I have not resumed anything athletic since and it still has not healed! I'm 19 (it happened just after my 15th birthday!!!) and my doctors were absolutely shocked that anything like this could happen to someone so young!

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As for a fractured vertebrae, it won't heal unless you are immobilized. Typically patients are put in "clamshell" type braces that go from right under your neck down to the tops of your hips -- and they are rigid. You typically wear them for about 12 weeks. If it still hasn't healed, they need to put a bone stimulator on it -- or somehow go in and stabilize it . At 19, you can certainly have herniated discs, particularly if you were a vigorous athlete -- but they usually dont' heal, they just become less symptomatic. Discs are like car tires -- they herniate from the rings of layers tearing from the inside out and a herniation is like the little "bubble" you see on a bad tire. You need to keep up with that -- you're too young to stop everything -- and that fracture has me a little concerned . . . (can you tell I'm a mom???) (but I'm also a PT, too, and I've treated kids with the exact stuff you have -- it's no small matter)

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I also have herniated discs - mine are in my neck. I have had issues off-and-on for at least 15 years with a stiff neck and/or excrutiating pain in my neck and shoulder. Up until a couple of years ago I just lived with it. I finally couldn't take it any more and asked my doc what we could do because I was fed up with medicating it when it flared up (which didn't work that well anyway). He ordered an MRI which showed that I had 2 herniated discs in my neck, as well as issues with the 'conduit' that the nerves are in being compressed (I forget the medical terminology.....). He referred me to a neuro who asked what kind of accident I had been in. I have never been in an accident and cannot recall anything that would have caused this damage.

I am 39 by the way......and I also have TMJ. I wonder how much of this is related to celiac disease?

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I have degenerative disc disease and bone spurring, calcifications in my brain, calcifications in my breast. A lot of this is related to poor calcium absorption. You need magnesium to absorb calcium. And since we are about poor absorption as celiacs, we need all the help we can get. I started taking big doses of magnesuim and the pain in my back and neck have subsided a great deal. Not gone, mind you, but it is tolerable. Get a good magnesium (google magnesium KAL - it's cheap) and take 200 mg every hour until you reach diarrhea. Keep a written record of how much you are taking. When you hit diarrhea back down to the last dose you took and that's how much you need. Magnesium is like vitamin C and you body will slough off what it doesn't need. I intially went up to 4000 mg before I hit diarrhea (big constipation problems here that the mag has also solved!). I now take 2000 - 2400 daily. I did a lot of research on the internet and talked with the yeast infection person who recommended this technique. I wanted to be sure that this amount of mag would not hurt me. There are really no known problems unless you get to 20,000mg. I feel so much better in so many ways. A lot of my symptoms were related to mag deficiency. I know that it has certainly helped with the back pain.

fritzicurls

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Lynne,

Thanks for the support and the concern. They have basically tried everything you have mentioned as well as lots of physio etc. I have a really good sports doctocs who've stuck with me and are continually trying to find ways of helping me heal. Normally I'm a fast healer but I'm having some trouble with this one. Most days it's okay, but now and again I have days where there is little or no feeling in my legs. I know it's like everything else though, it just takes time and I know that I'm on the upside of it.

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This is a question that interests me. I herniated two of my discs when I was 18 in a sports accident. After physio etc, the symptoms lessened and I had little trouble until I was heavily pregnant. again, swimming and physio improved things. then, last year, my back started playing up big time and has been getting progressively worse. Both myself and my physio think it must be more than just coincidence that the back problems worsened at exactly the same time as the full blown onset of all my other coeliac symptoms.

fritzicurls - do you take a calcium supplement as well as the magnesium?

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Your symptoms probably worsened during your last trimester due to the huge influx of hormones which occur. In reality, your body is physiologically about 50-70% prepared to deliver during your FIRST trimester -- from the standpoint of your birthing canal being able to expand. During the first trimester, you get a first huge influx of hormones -- some women even get early back pain due to this -- the ligaments all soften, and the mother starts with some mild (sometimes severe) sacroiliac dysfunction. During your third trimester, you get another huge influx -- to further soften the ligaments to allow the pelvic ring to expand -- it is then that, quite often, you get moms who are unable to walk, etc. because of the sacroiliac dysfunction. The key to keeping it in check is that, if you had problems during your first pregnancy, your second will be worse, third worse than that . . . . so you start out in a prenatal lumbar corset and continue to be "monitored" by a PT that specializes in women's health -- they also usually specialize in manual therapy, so they will be a "kinder, gentler" type of PT! Don't know if any of it is celiac related, but I do know that our hormones kick us in the butt! . . . . . Lynne

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This is a question that interests me. I herniated two of my discs when I was 18 in a sports accident. After physio etc, the symptoms lessened and I had little trouble until I was heavily pregnant. again, swimming and physio improved things. then, last year, my back started playing up big time and has been getting progressively worse. Both myself and my physio think it must be more than just coincidence that the back problems worsened at exactly the same time as the full blown onset of all my other coeliac symptoms.

fritzicurls - do you take a calcium supplement as well as the magnesium?

I have severe degenerative disc disease. It is mostly limited to my lower back at this point. I have excruicating back pain most of the time. My dr. says that alot of my discs are very much degenerated. I also have osteopenia. He has suggested surgery, but since I developed bacterial meningitis form a spinal epidural that was intended for pain management in which I almost died, I am too afraid to do anything involving my spine.

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I'm sure you're right Lynne, in fact that's what the physio said too. But I also think that the celiac disease has aggravated things as well. it's interesting that when my other joint pains flare up, my back pains do too. I'm not expecting miracles from going gluten-free in terms of my back, but I am interested to see whether it does effect it.

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I began getting really sick last July and the docs never could figure out what was wrong with me. I had the diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, body aches, extreme fatigue, the constant pain under my left ribs and lost close to 20 pounds to mention a few. Towards the end of it all, I started having pain in my lower left back. A few weeks later, I got this horrible muscle spasm in my left leg and it has hurt off and on since then. The docs ordered an MRI and my back and it shows degenerative disc disease. The neuro says that everyone will get it eventually, but not usually until your in your sixties or so. I am 37. He said while it's not unheard of for people my age to get it, it is uncommon.

Has anyone else been diagnosed with this? Have you been told that it's related to gluten intolerence?

Kalynn,

I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease when my daughter was 18 months old, I was 34 then. I am 43 now. My neck hurt and my back from an old car wreck injury was flaring again. It got progressively worse and then my shoulders started to hurt as well. Orthopedic said that I have bursitis and tendenits. After I stopped gluten, my neck stopped hurting and my shoulders hurt way less. I also figured out that the foods in the Night Shade family were causing me more pain. I stopped those and still have pain, but now at least Motrin will help.

My theory is that gluten and the other foods I am intolerant to cause referred pain. I might have other GI problems that make my body respond in the inflamation or it could be para-mentopause and my hormones are causing the problems. What I want to do is to find a doctor to help me find out.

The GI I was seeing didn't believe that I am Celiac since my blood test and biopsy came back normal. Thing is that was off gluten for two weeks when I had the blood test and three months when I had the biopsy. He assured me that if there was damage, they would have found it. He also agreed that my starting gluten again for 6 months would cause more issues than would solve; another biopsy could come back negative. He did say that he would do a genetic test to see if I had one of the Celiac genes. He was a bit chagrined when he told me that I do indeed have one of the genes that all Celiacs have, but he added so does one third of the general population and not all of them are Celiac. He theorized that perhaps I stopped gluten before it had a chance to cause any damage. (With this "ammo" I am pretty sure that my brother will be tested and so will his kids and my two as well.)

My troubles and symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, brain fog, strange periods, and worsening joint pain began about 5 years ago. I began gaining weight and could not loose it. My father had recently died and I was so worried about my mother. I have been lactose intolerant for several years so I just thought it was acting up or the IBS that I had been diagnosed with right after my divorce, 8 years prior, was acting up. I now see a common factor. Stress.

My gyno did several tests, a couple of times, but ruled out any problems. Then a couple of years ago, I kept on thinking I was getting the flu. In the evenings I would be so tired and have a fever, sore throat and chills, but I would be much better in the morning. I also had a creepy feeling of irritation that seemed to be in my whole body. I stumbled upon the gluten factor by chance. (Too long to tell.) Within 3 days of being gluten free my swollen looking legs reduced their size to my normal. My abdomin pain was gone and so was the bloat. My thinking abilities grew more clear and I could talk and stay on the topic with out asking "What was I saying?". (I was a little concerned that I might have Alzheimers Disease.) I have been gluten free for 10 months and have lost needed 25 pounds. I have started writing again too. So much that had been a problem for me has cleared up or has lessed since being gluten free.

Cape

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I too have degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and the schmorl's nodes or osteophytes. I am only 34. I also have scoliosis and Ehler's Danlos Syndrome. I have asked if it was related to my having celiac disease and they say with everything else I have going on, how to tell? But when you think of how long we all went along without absorbing our nutrients, minerals, etc. before being diagnosed, I would think so.

Christi

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I also have herniated discs - mine are in my neck. I have had issues off-and-on for at least 15 years with a stiff neck and/or excrutiating pain in my neck and shoulder. Up until a couple of years ago I just lived with it. I finally couldn't take it any more and asked my doc what we could do because I was fed up with medicating it when it flared up (which didn't work that well anyway). He ordered an MRI which showed that I had 2 herniated discs in my neck, as well as issues with the 'conduit' that the nerves are in being compressed (I forget the medical terminology.....). He referred me to a neuro who asked what kind of accident I had been in. I have never been in an accident and cannot recall anything that would have caused this damage.

I am 39 by the way......and I also have TMJ. I wonder how much of this is related to celiac disease?

I have done a lot of research of leaky gut syndrome (LGS) and what I have taken away from the serveral web sites that I have read is that leaky gut could be the trigger for Celiac Disease and some other autoimmune disorders. Good for an over all introduction to LGS. By the way, wheat, barley and rye are not to be eaten when dealing with LGS because of molds that hang out on the grains. Interesting.)

http://www.afpafitness.com/articles/LEAKGUT4.HTM

I am going to start elimintaing the yeast over growth from my GI tract and I have taken all sugar out of the diet. I have stopped all sugars, wine, fruit too and some of the sweeter vegitables. I have seen a big difference in my neck pain; not much at all. I have DDD too. I am pretty certain sugar is a big key to my pain, so I am figuring that once I get rid of the yeast, the the pain will go too. (Got to take lots of suppliments and hopefully, you can add things back to your diet after getting rid of the yeast over growth.) The following web site had excellent directions for getting rid of yeast; easy to understand.

http://www.eczema-usa.com (This web site says that eczema is caused by an over growth of yeast in the gut. My eczema went away after I stopped all gluten.)

I am wondering if DDD is caused from inflamation. Get rid of the inflamation and you help yourself. Thing is that Ibuprofin and the like causes damage to the intestine, so you don't heal if you don't stop taking it. I went into Wholefoods last week and asked for ideas for an anti inflamatory. The guy did not hesitate to give me samples of Celadrin. I took it and it works better than Advil. I went back the next day to buy a bottle. Side bar... I got a different form of Advil that I had been using and my neck began hurting me a lot. It has artifical sweetener in the coating. Fine, no gluten, but it had corn starch and other starches too. I started reading all of the Ibuprofin boxes. I can't do any form of corn or potatoe, including starches. I stopped the Advil and started the Celadrin and my neck stopped hurting again. (Along with neck pain I have painful bursitis in my shoulders as well. My knees and hips hurt occassionally as well. I have been doing yard work today and feel like I could do more tomorrow. It's been a long time since I've been this pain free. I stopped all sugar the same time I started taking the Celadrin. I am hoping that I can stop the Celadrin when I'm yeast free.

I hope my experiences can help someone. I have gotten so much valuable information from this web site.

Bye, Cape

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Yup... I'm 34 and just got diagnosed with Celiac. I have multilevel (3) degenerative disc disease. I'm assuming it's related until someone proves to me other wise.

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