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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 FREE Celiac.com email alerts   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 Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Heart Palpitations/ Tachycardia
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peeptoad    7

Has anyone else experienced tachycardia or heart palpitations after going gluten-free?

For several years now (3-5) I've gotten very occasional (like maybe a few times a month) heart palps, but since the middle of October (right around the time I challenged with gluten and then went gluten-free for good) they became much more frequent. I notice them anywhere from a couple of times to ten times a day.

I had pretty strong tachycardia last night while I was eating dinner (no gluten), so not sure if it's related to diet or what. Most of the time I notice it I'm lying down or relaxed in some way, so I don't think it can be stress-related.

I'm wearing a cardiac event recorder right now, so hopefully the doc will find something...

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Aly1    23

I've been getting them when I get glutened but that's about it. Is it possible you have cc issues of some sort or are being glutened somewhere?

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mushroom    1,205

Do oyou have any bloating or gas while you experience these episodes?

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burdee    80

Has anyone else experienced tachycardia or heart palpitations after going gluten-free?

For several years now (3-5) I've gotten very occasional (like maybe a few times a month) heart palps, but since the middle of October (right around the time I challenged with gluten and then went gluten-free for good) they became much more frequent. I notice them anywhere from a couple of times to ten times a day.

I had pretty strong tachycardia last night while I was eating dinner (no gluten), so not sure if it's related to diet or what. Most of the time I notice it I'm lying down or relaxed in some way, so I don't think it can be stress-related.

I'm wearing a cardiac event recorder right now, so hopefully the doc will find something...

I get palpitations (but not fast enough to call it tachycardia) whenever I eat cane sugar, which is one of my diagnosed (IgG mediated) allergens. I also get a little nauseaus when I eat cane sugar. All my other allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, egg, vanill and nutmeg) cause gut pain, bloating and diarrhea or constipation. Cane sugar is the only one that causes palpitations. I can eat any other kind of natural sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, agave, beet sugar, honey, etc.) but nothing derived from cane sugar (molasses, sucanat, splenda, brown sugar) without getting those palpitations for at least 48 hours after ingestion. My ND says he's seen several people with cane sugar allergy as well as me.

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peeptoad    7

I don't think I'm getting glutened anywhere because I'm pretty careful. I don't even have gluten foods in the house at all, and I'm pretty careful when I go out. It's possible I may be reacting to a different food (like sugar), so I'll try to pay attention to see if any particular food correlates with the tachy.

Mushroom, I don't generally get bloated during the palps, but once or twice I've actually gotten a stomach-ache after a palp episode ended. This happened the other night, but I didn't connect the two since it was right after I ate dinner. The palpitations, generally, happen at night/evening and mostly when I'm lying down or at rest.

There may be no connection to diet, but I wanted to throw it out there to you guys.

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Bubba's Mom    103

Low B1(thiamin) can cause those symptoms, along with folic acid deficiency, or iron deficiency.

Have you had any blood panels run recently?

It's fine to supplement the B vitamins and folic acid..(and maybe a good idea because gluten-free foods aren't fortified with vitamins like gluten foods), but you shouldn't supplement iron unless you know you're anemic.

My resting pulse is always above 100, and raises sometimes, so I know it can be alarming. I'm hoping I'll settle down once I'm healed enough to start absorbing nutrients.

Good luck to you!

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jmrogers31    4

Mine seem to have started since I went gluten free as well, but I am pretty sure they are diet related because I only get them if I am bloated or gassy. I am taking a fish oil pill with vitamin D and it seems to help. I do think it is strange that this started after I went gluten free. I am trying to cut out alot of the suger out of my diet and I noticed yesterday that after lunch my heart was racing for a while and I did have some sugar with my meal. Never had that before either. Mushroom, why do you ask if peeptoad is experiencing gas with the pals? Do you have an idea of what it may be?

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burdee    80

I don't think I'm getting glutened anywhere because I'm pretty careful. I don't even have gluten foods in the house at all, and I'm pretty careful when I go out. It's possible I may be reacting to a different food (like sugar), so I'll try to pay attention to see if any particular food correlates with the tachy.

Mushroom, I don't generally get bloated during the palps, but once or twice I've actually gotten a stomach-ache after a palp episode ended. This happened the other night, but I didn't connect the two since it was right after I ate dinner. The palpitations, generally, happen at night/evening and mostly when I'm lying down or at rest.

There may be no connection to diet, but I wanted to throw it out there to you guys.

My heart rate increased a bit after I started taking thyroid supplements, but I had a very low heart rate and needed to increase that. However, I wsa scared that feeling my heart 'pounding' was a sign of overdose until I read an article about heart palpitations at night. If you don't feel your heart during the day, but only feel a 'pounding' sensation in bed, you may not have palpitations. Most people feel the pounding more intensely when lying in bed. This is expected in that the mattress serves as a sounding board. The mattress reflects back toward the person the vibrations from blood that is more forcefully ejected from the large chamber up against the inner lining of the aorta. I found that I didn't notice my heart beat so much if I lay on my right side.

However, if you should feel your heart beat more during the day time, especially when you're sitting at rest, then you may need to tell your doctor to check for hyperthyroid signs. Most people feel their heartbeat more intensely after exercise. So if you feel your heart beat often during the day or even suspect your heart is 'racing' (very rapid beats or tachycardia), then you certainly should get that checked out.

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mushroom    1,205

I believe that the heart palpitations and tachycardia (and sometimes atrial fibrillation) are caused by pressure on / irritation of the vagus nerve. This has been a problem for me for more than 30 years and is definitely food related, and for me it is associated with bloating and gassiness as well. I have several trigger foods for it in addition to gluten (corn is even worse than gluten), and it does occur when lying down most often -- the contents of the abdomen move around when we change positions and can put pressure on the heart and on the lungs, sometimes causing shortness of breath and increase in the bloating feeling. I used to get vasovagal syncope (sudden drop in blood pressure and fainting) from this pressure, but now I just get the a-fib, with associated runs of tachycardia and elevated blood pressure. It can be most disconcerting. It is definitely connnected to food and digestion, but hard to find anyone to deal with it because the cardios don't want to talk about digestion and the gastros don't want to talk about heart problems and there is no one out there to put the whole picture together. It gets very frustrating.

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peeptoad    7

Awesome info mushroom. Since mine happens mainly at night when I'm lying down after the largest meal of the day for me typically (dinner), then it wouldn't surpise me if food was part of the issue in my case. Since going gluten free I really haven't gotten bloated though...

Bubba's Mom, I do (or did) have an iron deficiency, so that also could be a factor. I'm currently taking iron three times a day with vitamin C to boost my ferritin because it's been persistently low. At the last blood draw it was finally rising though.

burdee, I've asked my doctor about my thyroid a number of times now. My standard labs (TSH, T4) are in the normal range, but I've heard that some people can have issues even testing "normal" with the thyroid. For some reason my doctor is resistant to do any further testing in this area, although she's having me undergo tests for everything else under the sun. I've asked her three times about my thyroid to no avail. I can't understand it...

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mushroom    1,205

burdee, I've asked my doctor about my thyroid a number of times now. My standard labs (TSH, T4) are in the normal range, but I've heard that some people can have issues even testing "normal" with the thyroid. For some reason my doctor is resistant to do any further testing in this area, although she's having me undergo tests for everything else under the sun. I've asked her three times about my thyroid to no avail. I can't understand it...

peeptoad, you should get a copy of your hormone results from your doctor. Some doctors (and labs) still use the old outdated ranges in hormone testing/results which alllowed for a much greater range. Find out what your results and ranges were and let us know. :)

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bbdailey    1

I used to get palpitations all the time before going gluten free...i was also beginning to become anxious and I remember thinking my great was gonna blow at times...i also had muscle spasms all over...after going gluten-free all of that went away other than the occasional spasm. But recently I have been getting bad muscle spasms just under the heart right below the rib cage..they are happening basically most of the day every day. At first I thought they were palpitations but I would feel my pulse and it was always normal while the spasms were happening. Do you think yours could be spasms as well?

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burdee    80

burdee, I've asked my doctor about my thyroid a number of times now. My standard labs (TSH, T4) are in the normal range, but I've heard that some people can have issues even testing "normal" with the thyroid. For some reason my doctor is resistant to do any further testing in this area, although she's having me undergo tests for everything else under the sun. I've asked her three times about my thyroid to no avail. I can't understand it...

Not many docs are fluent in 'thyroid'. Some use the outdated TSH normal range. Now endocrinologists recommend that only TSH between .3 and 3.0 or even .25 and 2.5 is considered normal. Also you can have 'normal TSH' (whatever scale is used) and 'normal range' T4, but still have low T3 (the hormone that actually controls metabolism, etc.). T4 is just a 'prohormone' which is useless until it drops a molecule and becomes T3. However, some people don't easily convert T3 to T4. So T4 can be 'normal', while someone has hypothyroid symptoms. Also, if you have gluten intolerance, you could also have Hashimoto's thyroiditis (low thyroid function). With Hashimoto's, all your other thyroid tests (TSH, free t4, free t3) can be normal, but you have high (Hashimoto's) antibodies. The other tests won't be abnormal until those antibodies have damaged your thyroid enough to decrease normal function, but who wants to wait that long? Obviously most doctors. SIGH

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peeptoad    7

Here are my thyroid labs from November (range):

free T4: 0.90 (0.58-1.64)

TSH: 0.89 (0.34-5.60)

Thyroid peroxidase AB: 15 (<35)

total T3: 1.34 (0.87-1.78)

...didn't realize I had gotten my T3 checked already. I now remember specifically asking my doctor about the free T3 and she won't run that test for some reason (maybe my insurance won't cover it?).

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burdee    80

Here are my thyroid labs from November (range):

free T4: 0.90 (0.58-1.64)

TSH: 0.89 (0.34-5.60)

Thyroid peroxidase AB: 15 (<35)

total T3: 1.34 (0.87-1.78)

...didn't realize I had gotten my T3 checked already. I now remember specifically asking my doctor about the free T3 and she won't run that test for some reason (maybe my insurance won't cover it?).

The TSH range is wider than recommended, but your TSH is still normal. Also all the other test results are in the normal ranges used by the lab. So the doc probably won't request more tests.

Perhaps you should reconsider original idea about palpitations being caused by food intolerance/allergies. Besides my cane sugar reaction, I also can get heart palpitations if I consume much caffeine from coffee, tea or soda pop.

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EJR    1

I believe that the heart palpitations and tachycardia (and sometimes atrial fibrillation) are caused by pressure on / irritation of the vagus nerve. This has been a problem for me for more than 30 years and is definitely food related, and for me it is associated with bloating and gassiness as well. I have several trigger foods for it in addition to gluten (corn is even worse than gluten), and it does occur when lying down most often -- the contents of the abdomen move around when we change positions and can put pressure on the heart and on the lungs, sometimes causing shortness of breath and increase in the bloating feeling. I used to get vasovagal syncope (sudden drop in blood pressure and fainting) from this pressure, but now I just get the a-fib, with associated runs of tachycardia and elevated blood pressure. It can be most disconcerting. It is definitely connnected to food and digestion, but hard to find anyone to deal with it because the cardios don't want to talk about digestion and the gastros don't want to talk about heart problems and there is no one out there to put the whole picture together. It gets very frustrating.

Thank you for this information, Mushroom. It describes very well what I also experience. I have had SVT's (supraventricular tachycardia) since I was 13 years old (now 65). I have also experienced the exact frustration you speak of with doctors (the gastros and the heart specialists). Just last night I had the problem when I went to bed so I got up and sat in my easy chair and watched TV until 2 a.m. Everytime I would lie down I would get heart palpitations. I had a lot of upper gas (also have a hiatal hernia so I suppose this doesn't help either). A friend

who has heart palpitations also has the same problem.

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peeptoad    7

The TSH range is wider than recommended, but your TSH is still normal. Also all the other test results are in the normal ranges used by the lab. So the doc probably won't request more tests.

Perhaps you should reconsider original idea about palpitations being caused by food intolerance/allergies. Besides my cane sugar reaction, I also can get heart palpitations if I consume much caffeine from coffee, tea or soda pop.

Thanks burdee. If nothing informative comes from the event recorder I'm wearing, then I'll look into food intolerances. I got a little hung up on my thyroid because the nurse practitioner I saw a couple of months ago said it felt enlarged on palpation. That's why I asked my doctor for more tests. They were supposed to ultrasound, but that didn't happen either.

I don't drink soda or tea and only 1-2 cups of coffee/day and I don't notice an increase right after the coffee, so not sure caffeine is an issue. The palps are also worse at night and the coffee I only drink in the morning.

If the palpations are for sure benign (and it looks like it's moving in that direction), then I can live with them, but it would be nice to know...

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Ziva    0

I get palpitations (but not fast enough to call it tachycardia) whenever I eat cane sugar, which is one of my diagnosed (IgG mediated) allergens. I also get a little nauseaus when I eat cane sugar. All my other allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, egg, vanill and nutmeg) cause gut pain, bloating and diarrhea or constipation. Cane sugar is the only one that causes palpitations. I can eat any other kind of natural sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, agave, beet sugar, honey, etc.) but nothing derived from cane sugar (molasses, sucanat, splenda, brown sugar) without getting those palpitations for at least 48 hours after ingestion. My ND says he's seen several people with cane sugar allergy as well as me.

I spent the day wondering what was wrong with me. I've had heart palputations before but today had them off and on almost all day which was not "normal" and very unsettling. I got on here to see what others had to say. I'm new at eating gluten free and am taking iron and Vit D. The iron is causing some issues so I was taking Citrucel, says it's gluten free, and 60 calories per tablespoon. Tried the sugar free which contains aspartame. Didn't think about it containing the same thing as Crystal Light which I also react to but not as bad as today. Reading the posts made me realize what the sugar free was. Hopefully this feeling will go away soon.

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Austin Guy    12

I used to get tachycardia before going gluten free. When my heart would return to normal it would also skip beats from time to time and it felt like it was compressing extra hard at times. I've had that only once in the 9 months after ending life with gluten. My blood pressure and resting pulse have also dropped a lot.

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Andi5    0

Though I'm not diagnosed Celiac, I used to have palpitations. After reading an article by Dr. Gott I began taking vitamin B12 and haven't had them since. There aren't enough B vitamins in a multi to regulate your levels with this symptom (according to the article). Would be worth trying. It really helps to improve your energy levels as well.

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Roda    186

I've been having issues in the past two weeks with tachycardia/chest pressure. Mine was caused by my potassium dropping to a very low level because of a diuretic I took for three days. So no more diuretic and the doc put me on RX potassium.

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mushroom    1,205

From what I have been reading in the last couple of days, it is important to keep all your electrolytes (minerals) in balance to keep the heart functioning properly. That means keeping sufficient levels of magnesium in balance with potassium levels, and possibly adding some taurine too. It is a complex thing - you can't really throw just some potassium at the problem and hope to get into proper balance..

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Roda    186

From what I have been reading in the last couple of days, it is important to keep all your electrolytes (minerals) in balance to keep the heart functioning properly. That means keeping sufficient levels of magnesium in balance with potassium levels, and possibly adding some taurine too. It is a complex thing - you can't really throw just some potassium at the problem and hope to get into proper balance..

I wish I could get someone to listen to me on that one. I originally went to the doc to see about doing something for the horrible fluid retention I have been having for the past 6 months. I agreed to try a diuretic since I was desprate for some relief. She told me it could drop my potassium levels and was scheduled for blood work in a week. I made it three days when I started having pretty severe symptoms. My potassium dropped to 3.0 (3.9-5.1) so they had me stop the diuretic and had me take 10 of 10 meq tablets of potassium over a 12 hr period then 2/day since. I had my blood work rechecked Friday and it went up to 3.5(3.6-5.1). Still low so they told me to take another 4 tablets then resume my 2/day and go back in a week for recheck. I'll be out of town so I can't get it checked until next Wednesday. It's been a mess, so has my stomach and of course I'm swelling again.

I had initally inquired if magnesium would help my legs and I was told yes, but was not recommended to take it. I was told it would be dangerous to take it unsupervised because of an article she had read. I replied that there is a lot of scare tactics out there. I had my magnesuim level checked at the same time the potassium and it was 1.9 (1.8-2.5). I'm not sure what I need to do from here. I'm frustrated to say the least and I still don't have an answer to my my swelling issue. I ended up missing two days of work last week because of all of this. I'm still having intermittent tachycardic episoded also.

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mushroom    1,205

I wish I could get someone to listen to me on that one. I originally went to the doc to see about doing something for the horrible fluid retention I have been having for the past 6 months. I agreed to try a diuretic since I was desprate for some relief. She told me it could drop my potassium levels and was scheduled for blood work in a week. I made it three days when I started having pretty severe symptoms. My potassium dropped to 3.0 (3.9-5.1) so they had me stop the diuretic and had me take 10 of 10 meq tablets of potassium over a 12 hr period then 2/day since. I had my blood work rechecked Friday and it went up to 3.5(3.6-5.1). Still low so they told me to take another 4 tablets then resume my 2/day and go back in a week for recheck. I'll be out of town so I can't get it checked until next Wednesday. It's been a mess, so has my stomach and of course I'm swelling again.

I had initally inquired if magnesium would help my legs and I was told yes, but was not recommended to take it. I was told it would be dangerous to take it unsupervised because of an article she had read. I replied that there is a lot of scare tactics out there. I had my magnesuim level checked at the same time the potassium and it was 1.9 (1.8-2.5). I'm not sure what I need to do from here. I'm frustrated to say the least and I still don't have an answer to my my swelling issue. I ended up missing two days of work last week because of all of this. I'm still having intermittent tachycardic episoded also.

I am sorry you are going through this, Roda, and unfortunately I don't have any solid answers for you because I am trying to learn about it myself :( I have been taking diuretics for the last 30 years, but for most of that time they were potassium-sparing diuretics, meaning I did not have to supplement potassium. Then they started switching me back and forth between potassium sparing and potassium leaching and somewhere along the way I got mixed up if I was supposed to be supplementing or not, and I ended up in atriall fibrillation because my potassium levels dropped too low. And even if your blood levels show okay, what is available to the cells can be too low. I ended back up in the hospital, I told them I had not been able to get gluten free potassium and I had been gulping bananas all weekend and they said my potssium was sfine and that was not the problem. The next morning, they said I was low in potassium :rolleyes: Now in all this, nobody every mentioned Magnesium to me and this is something I explored with a nutritionist, and frankly she gave me so many supplements that they made me nauseous and I really couldn't handle taking them all. So I just took the ones that seemed to make sense. Now, I am on another forum for afibbers, and they are repeating the preaching of what my nutrionist told me :unsure: So I just sat here and swallowed a multimineral, a magnesium tab, a potassium, a taurine, two D3's, a zinc, and then rewarded myself with dark chocolate-covered preserved ginger so that I wouldn't feel ill. :o Because I am trying to keep myself from going into afib.... I also get calf cramping when I am low in magnesium and cannot seem to absorb the minerals from my food even though I am pretty sure that by now my gut is no longer a leaky one, just not healed back to the level it should be. I also still take digestive enzymes because I don't think my pancreas has fully recovered either.

I am a salutory lesson to peeps who take celiac disease lightly, who think it might be okay to cheat (I never did that, I have never cheated) and that it is not something to be particularly concerned about.

I am left in the position of knowing I should supplement magnesium and potassium, but not knowing at what levels, and no-one would be willing to monitor my levels to the degree necessary for me to find out how to do it.

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    • Thank you!   I see a Dietician early next month and figured I will need to be more strict early on.    There is so much to learn.  I am grateful for the apps available that allow me to scan UPC's to find out what is and is not gluten-free, but will be confirming by reading labels  too.   I cleared out quite a bit of space in my cupboard today.  It is only me in the house since I lost my husband earlier this year so it will be easier to control what is in the house.    He loved bread as much as me so it would have been much harder with the 2 of us here
    • Welcome to the board. Many of us keep safe gluten free snacks on hand for times when we are away from home.  In addition to what Karen mentioned fruits, nuts, hard boiled eggs etc. If it is a long trip a cooler can keep stuff fresh for you and they make ones that you can plug into your car. How were you diagnosed? Many folks carry the genes but don't develop celiac. You should have had a celiac panel blood test and an endoscopy. If you are new to the lifestyle then do check out the Newbie 101 threead at the top of the Coping section. it has a lot of info to keep you safe.
    • If you are super sensitive (or have become super sensitive) there is an oats purity protocol used by just a few companies. The fields do not grow gluten containing grains for 4-5 years before the oats are planted, the fields are walked several times a season for any plants not belonging to be pulled by hand, and all the equipment and facilities used to harvest are dedicated equipment. It's a bit pricey, but it produces the only oats that I don't react to (although I have not tried all certified gluten free oats).  There are a couple variations of magnesium. Some cause loose stools so check the source of magnesium (and make sure it's gluten-free). Calm I've used with no problem. If you are stressed, you will burn through magnesium faster.  Roommates create some complications. I had a shared kitchen for a vacation this past year, and I was constantly cleaning. I'm so used to my gluten-free kitchen I became very aware of sinks being used to pour pasta water in, bread crumbs left from a cut sandwich, and how much gluten a simple sponge can be exposed to. I kept my sponge to clean my area in a ziplock bag next to the sink. And if I was cleaning fruit or veggies, I filled a large bowl with water to use so I wouldn't have to always be cleaning the sink. If you have wooden utensils, make sure they aren't be accidentally used. A friend was getting cross-contaminated from shared condiments.  My celiac reactions for cross contamination are not gastro but neurological so I can't offer much with that. A proper glutening is the only thing that gives me gastro symptoms, and it is the most painful experience! In either case, I drink lots of water. I will drink a gallon on those days. Throw some Calm in there, but force fluids. I also use Ultima Replinisher (which I typically use after exercise) if I'm forcing fluids, and I drink mugs of warm broth if my gut is really not doing well.  Hang in there, C. Hope you feel better soon.     
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