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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? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) 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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feedjake92

So Depressed!

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I posted in April wondering if I have celiac disease. My son is on a gluten free casein free diet due to allergies and intolerances. I went to the doctor in April with mouth sores and complaining of GI problems. Since I was there I decided to also mention that I was having muscle spasms in my upper back. I didn't mention how many ibuprophen I had been taking for the back pain, didn't think of it until later. Anyway, he ran a CBC then told me to take vitamins for three months and repeat the blood test. He never checked my back only told me to buy a new mattress and ignored me when I said I had already done that. Anyway, about a month later, I went back with severe pain in my upper back and shoulder, a few days later numbness in my fingers. I have since had surgery for a herniated disc in my neck and have been out of work for about three months. I gave up trying to eat the gluten-free diet since it was all I could do to see that my son stayed on his diet. I ate whatever was easy. Several other things have also happened this summer...my son got stitches in his foot, broke up with a boyfriend, had my well pump go out, dog hit by a car ($200 vet bill), still having back pain after surgery, ...sure there is more. Anyway, it has been an extremely stressful summer. I weighed 124lbs in April. When I saw the doctor in May for my back, I weighed 118. I had been eating gluten-free but not trying to diet at all. I now weigh 107lbs and am so weak! I look emaciated! I am 5'2". I tried to take an antidepressant that I got the orthopedic doc to order, but I got so nauseated, I couldn't eat for two days! I am having a lot of trouble just dealing with life! I can't stop crying.

Can celiac disease cause this depression? I really feel that it is more than all the stress of the past few months.

Any words of advice or encouragement would be appreciated.

Connie

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It can, but the stress can too. If you think you may be celiac disease, and there's a nontrivial chance you are, since your son is, I would encourage you to stick to the diet for a while and see if it helps. There may be other things causing your back problems as well, but if you are gluten intolerant, you need to stop eating gluten. Fill your home with things that are easy to eat and gluten free. Make a large pot of rice and keep the leftovers - reheats in three minutes. Keep gluten-free corn tortillas around instead of flour. Keep plenty of eat-out-of-hand fruits and vegetables and bean dips (gluten-free, of course) around that you can eat in a snap. And get rid of any non-gluten-free stuff that you can. It's perfectly healthy to eat gluten-free (though, there is a suggestion to take a vitamin as gluten-free flours, if you used to be a big bread eater, are not enriched) and won't hurt anyone in the family. ;-) (And might make it easier for your son, since there won't be anything in the house he'd be denied.)

Almost forgot: have you been seen by a physical therapist for your back? That's one of the first things a doctor should do for you. If your GP hasn't suggested it, I urge you to see an orthopaedist.

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I start physical therapy for my neck this week. The doctor wasn't really thrilled about my going back so soon after my surgery, but I am in a real bind with money.

I was pretty much eating what my son eats until I had so much problems with my neck and back. I had a hard time with all the cooking I generally do. It seems cheaper to me to make my own stuff rather than try to find gluten free foods in the stores. There are no health food stores or any of those nice big chain grocery stores that carry the gluten free foods anywhere near me. I usually order the stuff or buy a lot when I make a trip to a health food store. I couldn't do any of those things for a while, because I wasn't able to drive. I think most of my trouble started when I stopped eating the gluten free foods. That's why I think it's celiac disease, but I didn't realize that could be what caused the depression to get so bad.

Thanks for your response.

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I would say that depression is actually a major symptom of celiac disease.... Not only because of the malnutrition and malabsorption, but secondly because each time I get "glutened", it puts me on an emotional roller coaster. Also, another reason that depression is common with celiacs is because many celiacs also have hypothyroidism (like me) and depression is related to that auto-immune disease also.....

Karen

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I am so sorry you are having such a rough time. I think just feeling ill so much can cause depression. I am having a hard time fighting it.

About your back pain, have you had test for others things to rule out? I have a hiatal hernia and GERD which causes me back spasms sometimes. I think my whole digestive system is a mess. I also get right shoulder pain which is why I am convinced I have something else going on such as pancreatitis or gallbladder, been to an orthopedic surgeon, mri etc.

As far as food goes I try to keep certain canned foods on hand. gluten-free fat free chicken broth, canned veggies, canned tomatoes, etc for a quick and healthy soup. I buy bulk rice and potatos. Canned beans, hamburger in the freezer or turkey for a quick chili.

I hope this helps!

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    • A mistake that many of, myself included, made! Don't feel bad about it, feel good that you've at least identified a possible cause. I was faced with a similar choice a few years ago and opted to go back onto gluten for a 'challenge' to see if I had celiac. I kept a food diary during this time and tracked the reappearance of symptoms, some gastro intestinal but primarily neurological. I tested negative for celiac much to my surprise, but the challenge confirmed gluten as an issue, so NCGS is best diagnosis I'm likely to get for now at least.  Your question re fructans is a good one and not easy to answer. The fact you've asked it suggests you've done some research and are aware of the unclear science once celiac is excluded. For what its worth I think that what may happen is that some people who get IBS relief from a gluten free diet are indeed correct to avoid the foods, but incorrect in identifying gluten as the cause.  They may actually be reacting to fructans, polyols, or other parts of the wheat,carbs rather than proteins.  However there are also well documented cases where gluten itself is the culprit, some more info on this here and I believe this is where I sit.   You need to decide what level of uncertainty you can live with. Medical assistance will depend on reintroducing gluten. If you do it with a food diary you may learn more about your reactions, maybe even be able to customise your diet to your own body. Most importantly, you would properly exclude celiac as a cause, which is important because its a serious condition and if you do have it, far better to know for both you and your family who may also want to be tested.  Finally, I collected some links and info here some time ago, it may be useful.  Best of luck Matt
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