About three years ago, I was in rough shape. I had an avalanche of symptoms, but no doctor was able to pinpoint the source of my suffering for quite some time. After getting down to about 94 pounds, my diagnosis finally came after I did an elimination diet and brought the findings to my doctor (who was little to no help after giving my official diagnosis). Having gone through this journey of healing, I can tell you firsthand how important getting a diagnosis is. If it feels like World War 3 just broke out in your stomach and you’re dealing with slews of other seemingly unexplainable symptoms, you might be Gluten Intolerant or have Celiac Disease.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and usually oats due to cross contamination in the farming fields. When someone who has Celiac Disease ingests even the smallest amount of gluten, mayhem occurs and the body responds by attacking itself with an auto-immune response. Gluten wipes out the villi in the small intestine creating lots of problems for adequate digestion, absorption, and balance of flora in the gut. Gluten has even been shown to affect the skin, brain, cardiovascular system, and nervous system. Below are the most common symptoms I have seen regarding gluten intolerance and CD.
I’m sad to say that I’ve correctly told 6 acquaintances I was sure they had Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance before a medical professional did. Though it is getting better, the average amount of time it takes for a correct diagnosis is about 10 years. Mine was 20 years. If you think you have Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance, don’t be discouraged if a doctor is unwilling to test you for it. Keep looking until you find a doctor with knowledge on the subject and start keeping a food diary. As much as I don’t like the idea of self diagnosis having had to do it twice for myself (life threatening soy allergy and celiac disease/gluten intolerance) sometimes it is a necessary measure as the medical community is falling short in these areas. For a list of diseases and conditions associated with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance, click here. A;so see my Resources page for more links and information.
When dealing with symptoms, attitude is key. Remember that the pain is temporary and you will get better. There are tons of great gluten-free foods out there for the picking and eating. The hardest part is behind you. I’ll be shouting out my favorite gluten-free products in the next post along with how to get through the diagnosis.
What do you think? Have you experienced any of the above symptoms? Do you have a diagnosis story? Share it below! I’d love to hear from you. Also feel free to send me an email at email@example.com
(I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice. Please consult with your health care professional to determine what is the best course of action for you. And of course, listen to your body!)