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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

Neurological Symptoms?
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Hi! I'm new to these forums (though I've lurked the last couple years), and I'm hoping you might have some advice, insight, or experiences to share with me.

My husband was "diagnosed" with celiac disease in late 2009. His blood tests were ordered by our family practitioner and they came back positive. We were referred to a local GI doc. The GI told my husband that it was fine to continue the gluten-free diet prior to the endoscopy (we now know that is not the case). The doc also took only 1 or 2 samples of the small intestine. The endoscopy came back negative. Our family practitioner told us she was certain my husband had it, and she was willing to refer us to a GI doctor in a local large city, but since we already had a $1000 bill from a procedure that was done incorrectly, and it was obvious the gluten-free diet was working, we declined.

Since then, my husband has maintained a strict gluten-free diet with no "cheating." He recently began having some neurological symptoms, mostly intermittent numbness/tingling in his arms and numbness and pain in his legs (especially the left). We've found a new GI and we're also seeing a neurologist.

Thus far, the neurologist had ordered a brain/spine MRI, which came back negative. Blood levels of B12 are normal (though he does have low Vitamin D levels). The neuro is scheduling him for an EMG. He wanted to know if our new GI was going to confirm the celiac diagnosis, because celiac can be a cause of nerve damage. We had discussed the possibility with our GI. He ran a celiac panel, which came back negative, as was expected since my husband consumes no gluten whatsoever. If he was to do an endoscopy, he'd have to do a gluten challenge, and I have reservations. Nerve damage is nerve damage---the gluten-free diet isn't solving the numbness issues, so do we really need a diagnosis in terms of how we'll treat the nerve problems? My husband will get really sick---I don't know if it's worth affecting his job performance (he's at a new job and there's no paid time off for him, plus he's in the running to move up pretty quickly), let alone the fact that we have three small children...I'm just wondering if having that official diagnosis is worth the path to get there, considering it doesn't really change anything that we'll be doing.

Anyway, it feels like we're hanging in limbo with no answers and it's frustrating. We're trying to figure out what's causing these nerve issues but we have no answers thus far. Also, if somehow it is celiac-related, obviously my husband is following his diet, so it doesn't look like there's much promise of the diet fixing the nerve issues.

If you have any experience, please share! I don't even know how to continue this post because that's how up-in-the-air we are right now. :wacko:

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It may be that his numbness is a symptom of cross contamination from gluten. Some people have severe neuro effects from gluten, and just because he didn't have these symptoms before doesn't mean he can't have them now.

Does he exercise? If he overexercises it could be a problem. lack of exercise can also cause oroblems. Has he seen a good massage therapist? Could it be a pinched nerve, etc?

It is also common, in celiac recovery, to go through stages. This could be a stage.

Could be a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Has he had a thorough vitamin panel? Most Celiacs have a few deficiencies that need supplementing - food alone usually won't resolve the deficiency.

It could be another food intolerance. That's common during healing. Some are temporary, others permanent.

The one thing Ive learned from this whole thing is to preface how I feel or my health with "right now". It helps to keep a journal - food, symptoms, etc. a journal can help him pinpoint what/when things happen.

Good luck to both of you.

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It may be that his numbness is a symptom of cross contamination from gluten. Some people have severe neuro effects from gluten, and just because he didn't have these symptoms before doesn't mean he can't have them now.

It helps to keep a journal - food, symptoms, etc. a journal can help him pinpoint what/when things happen.

Pricklypear gave some good advice and suggestions of possibilities. I wanted to elaborate on the two points above. That was what happened to me. Cross contamination was the problem and a food/symptom journal helped me figure it out. We needed a gluten free household for my son and I to become symptoms free. We also went on a diet of unprocessed foods until we healed and then we add new item one per week so that we can track symptoms. We now have a few processed foods that we can eat. We had problems with even some produce.

My neurological symptoms went away when I got gluten free enough.

Some celiacs are sensitive to lower levels of gluten than others so that the food that others eat without issues can cause problems for some.

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Hi there, my neuro told me that low vit D can cause numbness and your hubby is low on vit D, so hope he's supplementing at a sensible high level. I've also read about vit D causing numbness in my research. I experience extreme numbness every day, getting my vit D level checked next week. I've only been gluten free for a couple of weeks.

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I have a very different set of neuro symptoms, but mine are definitely gluten related. They include transient anteretrograde amnesia affecting episodal memory (I don't remember a damn thing that happens), sensitivity to light, sound and movement (similar to visual migraines, but they last until the gluten clears my body), foggy thinking (I get stupid) and difficulty forming sentences. The symptoms start within 10 minutes of being glutened. The only blessing is that it makes it fairly easy to track down the source of gluten.

FWIW, the gluten free Rice Chex are definitely not gluten free...

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I had almost identical symptoms to your husband last year and had a full neurologic work-up for multiple sclerosis, lyme, etc. It ended up being due to gluten cross-contamination as well. I was strictly gluten free in a household of little gluten eaters, and even though I had a separate toaster, wash rag, pasta strainer, etc. it was not enough. I also had to stop all gluten-free processed foods and my neuro symptoms are finally gone (they did come back 1x following cross contamination from a restaurant). I have learned the hard way that I am "super sensitive."

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I just re-read your post. I was diagnosed based on family hx, symptoms, and sky high celiac antibodies (no biopsy). When I developed neurological symptoms I had negative celiac antibodies because of being gluten-free. I was offered an endoscopy and biopsy but I declined because I knew that my body would not be able to handle a gluten challenge (plus I couldn't see the point of paying money for the test when no matter what the result, I would continue to avoid gluten for life).

Gluten sensitivity (lumping together both celiac disease and non celiac gluten sensitivity) is the 3rd most common cause of peripheral neuropathy these days. When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 3 years ago I had no idea that I was risk of neurologic complications if I followed the diet. Now I know better!

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My daughter was diagnosed with celiac through bloodwork at her GI. The celiac panel was done as rule out because she had so many different types of vague symptoms including tremors in her hands. The endoscopy was done before the celiac panel came back (I feel they did not believe she had celiac) and we were told the endoscopy was normal showing no signs of damage. When her celiac panel came back, she was told her numbers were the highest they had seen for a patient. Since the first endoscopy was done before the positive blood test, they asked her to come back for a repeat endoscopy at their own expense and this time they took samples. Once again, the endoscopy came back normal even though her blood test was highly positive. We were told they felt she was a mystery. I guess my point in all this is that just because an endoscopy comes back negative it does not mean a person is not celiac. I have always found it troubling that medical providers find this to be the "gold standard" in diagnosis. Celiac can cause damage in insidious ways other than GI damage and the damage to intestines can be so patchy. I would think the neurologist could accept the positive blood test and positive response to the diet. My daughter could not go back on gluten now even if she tried because now that she has removed it from her diet even the tiniest amount makes her so ill she feels as though she is digesting razor blades. Thank goodness she does not get cc'd very often. I hope your husband stays away from gluten, especially since he is having neurological symptoms. It always bothers me when physicians want someone to intentionally make themselves sick by eating gluten just so they can prove the obvious through their testing. Medicine is not and never will be an exact science

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After reading ever1s post I started silently crying... I too have the hand tremors, mental fogginess, and see shadows out of the corners of my eyes. I'm glad I finally went to my Doc/friend and told her and she's running sooo many blood panels on me. Thank y'all for opening my eyes and showing me I'm not alone( even tho my older sister and I both have celiac disease, but we never talk about it).

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Just want to put this out there...see if neuro will run panels to check for other viruses active in body. I have nerve damage due to that very reason. It is painful and dibilitating....I take an anti-viral med along with lyrica and cymbalta to combat the pain...after 4 years the ebv seems to be down....however, I recently decreased my med and the pain has become more active...so going to see about increasing again! I orginally tested postive for active viruses of EBV, chicken pox, and Herpes Virus....what happens is your body is attacking itself so all the viruses you have immunity to...become active and attack the nerves....it is awful!

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Do you mean the Chex marked Gluten Free? My son (20) uses the cereal for snack food and goes through boxes of it!

 

Hi! I'm new to these forums (though I've lurked the last couple years), and I'm hoping you might have some advice, insight, or experiences to share with me.

My husband was "diagnosed" with celiac disease in late 2009. His blood tests were ordered by our family practitioner and they came back positive. We were referred to a local GI doc. The GI told my husband that it was fine to continue the gluten-free diet prior to the endoscopy (we now know that is not the case). The doc also took only 1 or 2 samples of the small intestine. The endoscopy came back negative. Our family practitioner told us she was certain my husband had it, and she was willing to refer us to a GI doctor in a local large city, but since we already had a $1000 bill from a procedure that was done incorrectly, and it was obvious the gluten-free diet was working, we declined.

Since then, my husband has maintained a strict gluten-free diet with no "cheating." He recently began having some neurological symptoms, mostly intermittent numbness/tingling in his arms and numbness and pain in his legs (especially the left). We've found a new GI and we're also seeing a neurologist.

Thus far, the neurologist had ordered a brain/spine MRI, which came back negative. Blood levels of B12 are normal (though he does have low Vitamin D levels). The neuro is scheduling him for an EMG. He wanted to know if our new GI was going to confirm the celiac diagnosis, because celiac can be a cause of nerve damage. We had discussed the possibility with our GI. He ran a celiac panel, which came back negative, as was expected since my husband consumes no gluten whatsoever. If he was to do an endoscopy, he'd have to do a gluten challenge, and I have reservations. Nerve damage is nerve damage---the gluten-free diet isn't solving the numbness issues, so do we really need a diagnosis in terms of how we'll treat the nerve problems? My husband will get really sick---I don't know if it's worth affecting his job performance (he's at a new job and there's no paid time off for him, plus he's in the running to move up pretty quickly), let alone the fact that we have three small children...I'm just wondering if having that official diagnosis is worth the path to get there, considering it doesn't really change anything that we'll be doing.

Anyway, it feels like we're hanging in limbo with no answers and it's frustrating. We're trying to figure out what's causing these nerve issues but we have no answers thus far. Also, if somehow it is celiac-related, obviously my husband is following his diet, so it doesn't look like there's much promise of the diet fixing the nerve issues.

If you have any experience, please share! I don't even know how to continue this post because that's how up-in-the-air we are right now. :wacko:

 

Hi, I'm so sorry for your struggle. I gave up on the tests myself as we had gone through out of pocket expenses for so many tests before a doctor thought of Celiac. My endoscopy was negative, blood test etc. I found a GI doc who believed me and we moved on to keep up on treatment. As to the neurological Symptoms it's a roller coaster for me. I think it's related to contamination as I find tiny exposure and more than one hit I have tingling, shakes, spasms and at it's worse need assistance to go downstairs. Strangely upstairs isn't as bad. I've come to understand my ability to process and intake through my small intestine is permanently impaired and any tiny ingestion prevents all those vitamins that are needed for the mechanics of movement and nerves. I have had success with liquid supplements and take Gabapentin for nerve pain. Calcium and magnesium are big for me as we'll as the B s. It's alot of hypervigilance. Good luck.

I have a very different set of neuro symptoms, but mine are definitely gluten related. They include transient anteretrograde amnesia affecting episodal memory (I don't remember a damn thing that happens), sensitivity to light, sound and movement (similar to visual migraines, but they last until the gluten clears my body), foggy thinking (I get stupid) and difficulty forming sentences. The symptoms start within 10 minutes of being glutened. The only blessing is that it makes it fairly easy to track down the source of gluten.

FWIW, the gluten free Rice Chex are definitely not gluten free...

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FWIW, the gluten free Rice Chex are definitely not gluten free...

That comment is completely off-topic, but also offers nothing to back it up with proof. The drive-by shooter, JoH, has not been back in over a month, so this is probably a dead end.

Now, if we want to go back to the original subject of Neurological Symptoms...

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