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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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Jaymie Jaymz

Can You Make Yourself Gluten Intolerant?

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Hello. I'm new to posting here, but I've been reading the forums for the last three or four weeks now. Growing up, I've always gotten stomachaches after eating meals, not all of them, but most. My parents and doctor chalked that up to anxiety and Pepto Bismol became my best friend from then on. Up until a few weeks ago, when I started a gluten-free diet, I was experiencing the following symptoms:

1.) Severe cramping, like labor pains right before using the bathroom

2.) Extreme fatigue. If I even try to read or watch a movie, I will be out cold in a few minutes.(I still have this problem.)

3.) After eating wheat-filled foods like pizza, my stomach distends out, and I'm not talking about a little bloat. I'm talking about looking 5 or 6 months pregnant and it's very firm, very uncomfortable.

4.) I itch all over, but have no rashes and my detergent is allergen free.

5.) I get weird tingling sensations in my legs and left arm for no reason.

6.) My eyesight has been acting strange lately. I have trouble focusing when I'm looking at one thing and then look to another. It takes a few seconds for me to focus on the new object.

7.) Trouble with balance and brain fog.

8.) Constant Hunger (I'm average weight for my height.)

In September, I went gluten-free for four days and then I broke down and had some pizza with French bread. My stomach bloated out like crazy. I showed my husband so he wouldn't think I'm exaggerating, and he was shocked. I had intestinal cramping for like a week after that. It took a while for my stomach to flatten back out again as well. This reaction was worse than any other time.

My question is this... if I'm NOT gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, could I still have this severe of a reaction to the pizza after four days of not eating gluten? I've heard a rumor online that you can make yourself gluten intolerant by not eating it for a while, and then when you introduce it back into your diet, you can have symptoms.

I'm just trying to figure out if this is all in my head, if I had the reaction to pizza because I was without gluten for four days. It doesn't seem likely to me after such a short time, but I'm sure someone around here knows, because you all seem very knowledgeable.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Jaymie

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Hi Jayme, your symptoms do fit with gluten intolerance as well as lactose intolerance (cheese on the pizza) and fructose malabsorption (fructans in wheat, onions, asparagus, and others) or may just have a wheat intolerance. Do you plan to go thru testing or a good trial of an elimination diet? As far as your question on if you can make yourself gluten intolerant I believe the answer is No. Your body either can handle gluten or not. My parents ate gluten free for my husband and I when we were sharing a cabin for a week this last fall in Door County. We didn't ask them to do this but they thought it would be just easier and I think they were curious on our foods ect. After we all went home they teased me that although our food was good, they were happy to be eating gluten again! They never mentioned symptoms returning to gluten. Also, I know of a couple people that I work with that tried gluten free to see if they felt better or not and both are back to eating gluten. One actually did it for almost 6 months before deciding that gluten wasn't her problem and she is now following a low fat plan that she thinks is helping with a ton of bread, just no mayo, anything fried ect. She does seem to have more energy and is happier now. Hope you can get it all figured out, a food diary is extreemly helpful since it often will take up to 3 days to see a pattern with the offending food. Keep reading the forum and ask away, we are here to help!

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No, you can't make yourself gluten intolerant. If you stop eating gluten you may have more pronounced symptoms when you eat it again, but the problem was there all the time; it just wasn't obvious to you.

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I agree...and your symptoms are EXACTLY mine...every last one.

I'm getting my endoscopy next week...

No, you can't make yourself gluten intolerant. If you stop eating gluten you may have more pronounced symptoms when you eat it again, but the problem was there all the time; it just wasn't obvious to you.

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Thank you for the replies.

Kpryan, now I'm really curious what your test results will be since we share the same symptoms. An endoscopy sounds really scary to me. I hope all goes well for you.

Kathy, thanks for sharing your story about your parents and coworkers. That's exactly what I wanted to know. None of them seemed to have a reaction when going back on gluten, and they were off of it much longer than my four days. Maybe I'm in denial.

I keep reading stories on the forum of how stubborn doctors can be when you ask them to test for celiac disease. On top of that, I'm one of those people who has to be chained and dragged to the doctor. I try to avoid them as much as possible. I was thinking of doing the gene blood test through Enterolab to see what they come up with. I figured if I test positive, that would help with the doctor situation. I'm not sure what else a doctor can do since I will not go on a gluten filled diet for 2-3 months. I don't think I'd agree to just one month. So testing blood or intestines for antibodies would be a waste of time.

I don't want a repeat of the pizza episode, especially for weeks at a time.

For me, a positive blood test and response to a gluten-free diet is enough for me. It would also help with relatives I think, when I go to their homes for the holidays and don't eat most of the food there. If the test came back negative for the gene, I don't know what I'd do next.

Jaymie

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Thank you for the replies.

Kpryan, now I'm really curious what your test results will be since we share the same symptoms. An endoscopy sounds really scary to me. I hope all goes well for you.

Kathy, thanks for sharing your story about your parents and coworkers. That's exactly what I wanted to know. None of them seemed to have a reaction when going back on gluten, and they were off of it much longer than my four days. Maybe I'm in denial.

I keep reading stories on the forum of how stubborn doctors can be when you ask them to test for celiac disease. On top of that, I'm one of those people who has to be chained and dragged to the doctor. I try to avoid them as much as possible. I was thinking of doing the gene blood test through Enterolab to see what they come up with. I figured if I test positive, that would help with the doctor situation. I'm not sure what else a doctor can do since I will not go on a gluten filled diet for 2-3 months. I don't think I'd agree to just one month. So testing blood or intestines for antibodies would be a waste of time.

I don't want a repeat of the pizza episode, especially for weeks at a time.

For me, a positive blood test and response to a gluten-free diet is enough for me. It would also help with relatives I think, when I go to their homes for the holidays and don't eat most of the food there. If the test came back negative for the gene, I don't know what I'd do next.

Jaymie

If the diet is helping stay on it no matter what the gene panel results are. Since you don't want to do a long term challenge, and I don't blame you in the least, you know that any testing for celiac will likely be a false negative. Being on the diet isn't going to affect testing for other stuff if there is a need.

What you did by consuming the pizza was in effect a 'gluten challenge'. However if you want to be sure your reacting to gluten and not something else that was in the pizza, like the cheese or just the grease, you could do another short challenge with something like cream of wheat.

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I wouldn't worry too much over what the doctor will think. Many are starting to coming around. I would simply tell him/her that you did your own gluten challenge and found that you absolutely cannot tolerate gluten and do not want to put your body through another challenge again just for an endoscopy. I did it and boy it just about killed me. I could only do it for a little over 2 months(my doc wanted 3). My husband is self diagnosed (his brother is celiac) mostly because he would just rather do the diet then go through all that I did for diagnoses and just feel better. With your family, I would just say that you tested positive to gluten intolerance. Your reaction to eating gluten is a valid test in my opinion.

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I will let you know how my test goes! :)

Personally I would still see a doctor. When I saw mine he wanted to do an endoscopy anyhow to check for anything else. It was my decision to add in the gluten for a month (which I don't know if I was even worth it)....

But if you can see the right kind of open minded doc, I would see one that can understand where you're coming from and rule out anything else.

Also, my doc put me on Nexium and I have to say that my intestinal symptoms since I've been back on gluten and on the Nexium have been much reduced... So the month wasn't as horrible as I expected. Though I don't know that I could do 1-2 more months. Plus I don't think it'd be fair to my husband LOL

I wouldn't worry too much over what the doctor will think. Many are starting to coming around. I would simply tell him/her that you did your own gluten challenge and found that you absolutely cannot tolerate gluten and do not want to put your body through another challenge again just for an endoscopy. I did it and boy it just about killed me. I could only do it for a little over 2 months(my doc wanted 3). My husband is self diagnosed (his brother is celiac) mostly because he would just rather do the diet then go through all that I did for diagnoses and just feel better. With your family, I would just say that you tested positive to gluten intolerance. Your reaction to eating gluten is a valid test in my opinion.

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On October 1st, I started a month long fast from all gluten, so maybe the first of November I'll try something other than pizza to do a second self-test, just to see. I don't think it was the cheese, though, because I eat 1/4 cup or more of it everyday and I've been fine since starting the fast. I also eat a cup of Greek Yogurt without trouble.

I'm a little confused about the blood tests. I hear many still come up negative, even when they are gluten intolerant. Would that be for the gene test, or just the antibody test? Does anyone know the percentage of people with celiac disease that have the genes that show up on the test?

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