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  1. Hello! I'm just wondering if anyone here can offer any advice on how to convince doctors that I'm gluten intolerant. My history- I've always been underweight no matter what I eat and prone to illness, and I've had severe pneumonia three times, one bout requiring a partial lobectomy. I never considered any sort of disease as the culprit for my poor health, but I accidentally stumbled onto celiac disease back in 2011. I'd been running daily for several years, and was trying to bulk up on the cheap by eating a box of pasta a day, oatmeal, bags of cereal, and any other inexpensive high-calorie foods I could get my hands on. For about a year, I began dropping weight and developed painful swollen hands. I finally went to the E.R. after one of my eyes turned bright red and felt excruciatingly painful, where I was referred to a specialist and received an iritis diagnosis. A couple weeks later, I abruptly lost the enamel on one of my front teeth. I looked up the symptoms, and found that it was textbook celiac. Without reading too much about celiac disease, I decided to cut out gluten just on a whim to see if my symptoms improved. Within a week, I started rapidly dropping weight and my face went white. At its worst, I passed easily-digestible gel cap vitamins whole. I did some more research, and found that a minority of patients actually get worse when they cut out gluten. Considering that I had no idea that this phenomenon even existed, yet still got much worse even though I was expecting to feel better, that clinched it for me - I likely had celiac disease. Once the "withdrawal" period passed, I ended up gaining 20 pounds despite the fact that I was eating far less than before. Whenever my bowel habits suddenly changed for the worse, I'd scour my diet and find that I made a rookie mistake - eating soy sauce, cross-contaminated oats, etc. I didn't have health insurance until several years ago, so I never sought care for my gastro issues. I ended up in the hospital in 2013 for a necrotizing strep infection, where I received a blood test that finally confirmed celiac disease. Fast forward a few years, and I'm finally insured and want to do something about my symptoms. I went for my first appointment with a family doctor, who treated me like a wackjob fad dieter. I didn't have copies of my medical records yet, so I had no defense at the time. Every symptom I told him was met with the same condescending dismissal - "who TOLD you you had iritis?" etc., and he then proceeded to give me an impromptu blood test to check for celiac. When I asked "But don't you have to eat gluten first to test positive?" he smirked and gave a non-answer - "Oh, I wouldn't ask you to eat a Twinkie and get sick." The nurse was openly hostile after running the blood test, and sharply said "you're fine" before the doctor came back into the room and gave me a lecture about "assuming" that I have an illness. He then referred me to a gastro doctor. The gastro doctor did an endoscopy and colonoscopy, and found iron deficient anemia and ulcers in my small intestine and duodenum. He had me eat gluten for two days leading up to the procedures, which he claimed was ample time to test positive for the disease. I'm aware that doctors tend to take it as a personal affront when patients disagree with them, so I played along and acted overjoyed to find out that I could eat wheat again. His diagnosis was Crohn's disease. But when I politely asked if my tooth enamel defects are a symptom of Crohn's, he confirmed that they aren't, but had actually never even heard of celiac disease causing tooth enamel loss. After gently pursuing this line of questioning further, he finally said "I'm not a dentist" and walked out in a huff without saying goodbye. No follow-up care was offered. Ever since that initial GP visit, I've had nothing but overt dismissal from every doctor I visit, even when I bring copies of my medical records. I feel that the more doctors I see who make a snap judgment that I'm a hypochondriac, it just adds yet another doctor to the list of physicians who put down "hypochondria" or "anxiety" in my medical records, which makes it even more difficult to be taken seriously by future doctors. My health has been failing me in recent years - no matter how immaculately I eat, I have to get up at least four hours before I need to leave the house so I can get repeated bouts of severe diarrhea. This entails literally getting up at 2 am to get to an 8 am appointment. I can't live like this much longer, but I've stayed away from doctors in recent years because I literally break down in tears from sheer frustration once I leave the office. Can anyone offer any advice on how to handle doctors? I always make sure that I defer to their judgment and try not state anything in absolutes, and I'm naturally a very friendly and empathetic person, so my demeanor isn't confrontational. I'm dreading going to a new gastro doctor because I'm half expecting to be told that I'm imagining everything. I'd think that a Crohn's and iritis diagnosis, plus a positive blood test, would be enough to convince most reasonable doctors, but apparently not. Thanks!
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