Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do YOU have Celiac Disease?

Did you know that there are all sorts of diseases or syndromes that are misdiagnosed, when really the patient actually has CELIAC DISEASE? Celiac symptoms often mimic those of other syndromes, and so it can be hard to detect. If you have any of the following, maybe you should try an elimination diet. Stomach ulcers, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, (IBS).

 Children suffer differently from adults, typically, and their symptoms include:
Infants, toddlers, and young children often exhibit growth failure, vomiting, bloated abdomen and behavioral changes, along with enamel abnormalities, and digestive upset.

Adults and Children can exhibit the following symptoms.
  • Recurring bloating, gas, or abdominal pain
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation or both
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Pale, foul-smelling stool
  • Unexplained anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Behavior changes/depression/irritability
  • Vitamin K Deficiency
  • Fatigue, weakness or lack of energy
  • Delayed growth or onset of puberty
  • Failure to thrive (in infants)
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Infertility male & female
  • Spontaneous miscarriages
  • Canker sores inside the mouth
  • Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
If you have any of these symptoms, or a combination, try an elimination diet and see if they go away. It will take time, at the very least, three weeks. But, if you ARE a Celiac, and you continue to eat gluten, you are not only damaging your small intestine by destroying the villi, causing malabsorption  problems, you are depleting your bone density which can cause the premature onset of arthritis and osteoporosis. You might also be needlessly suffering from such conditions as IBS, or FIBROMYALGIA.

Most of my life, I was completely ignorant to the fact that there are a lot of people out there who can't eat gluten. Gluten, is the protein found in Wheat, Barley, Malt and Rye. Unfortunately, Oats grown in the United States are almost always contaminated with it, usually through cross contamination, whether by facilities that process it, or the fields it grows in.

Most of my life, I ate bread, pasta, pizza and other delicious gluten filled foods like it was my last meal. I relished it. I loved it. But, I also had a lot of health problems too.

I was (still am) overweight, suffered from anxiety, depression, sporadic periods, infertility, digestive problems, eczema, fatigue, weakness, the list goes on and on and on.

A year ago, I was suffering from what doctors call FIBROMYALGIA. I was 28 years old, and was suffering. I had NO energy, I was weak, and my joints ached with the smallest amount of exertion. When my back would hurt, it didn't feel like muscle aches, I felt it in the bone.

Then my son started going through something that terrified me. He stopped growing, his teeth started to gray, he started losing weight, and his belly bloated, and every now and then he would break out in a terrible, patchy rash all over his body. This scared me so badly. Then, one day we woke up to screams coming from my son's room. It was 5 AM, and we both went running in to see what was wrong. He had diarrhea running down his legs, up his back, and all over his bedding. It looked like he had literally pooped his guts out. This went on for TWO WEEKS. No one could figure it out. I called our old chiropractor to see what she thought, and she suggested an elimination diet to eliminate allergens from his diet.

We started immediately, and when we reintroduced wheat, he broke out in that rash within 15 minutes, and had diarrhea all day. That was it. I knew something was wrong. So, I cut out bread, pasta, but kept other things in his diet, not realizing that they contained gluten under a code name, and the problems persisted.

I found out about Celiac Disease, and started doing research. I found out all sorts of things, including the treatment... a COMPLETELY GLUTEN FREE DIET. How on earth could I do that? How could I eat pizza in front of him, or bread, or cakes, or cookies? I decided to cut it out too.

Do you know what? Within a month my FIBROMYALGIA WAS GONE! My joint pain was gone, my periods regulated, and I had more energy and a happier outlook on life.

Do you know what else? My son grew 2 inches after only three weeks following the diet. The diarrhea cleared, and he started gaining weight. His behavior improved as well.

The past few weeks, I have started reintroducing gluten in to my diet. Guess what has happened. I have been fatigued to the point where I don't want to get out of bed, I have joint pain like you wouldn't believe, my bone aches are back, my fibromyalgia symptoms are back, I feel bloated and miserable after I eat anything that has it in it, and I started feeling a bit depressed and anxious again, not to mention my periods have gone wacky.

I have stopped eating it again, and this time, hopefully, I have the support of my husband fully. I pleaded with him today to not tempt me with foods I shouldn't eat, because it is literally going to make me sick, and possibly be the death of me! Not only does it cause me instant misery, it is causing me tremendous internal damage that may catch up to me in 10 years, or tomorrow.

If your body cannot absorb minerals and vitamins, as is the case with Celiac sufferers who continue to eat gluten, then your body will rob it from your bones, and fast. And, if you don't stop eating it, and decide to take multi-vitamins, I've got sorry news for you, those vitamins aren't being absorbed any more than if you ate the vitamins in your food.


For more information, please check out these links.
Article on Increased Prevalence and Mortality of Undiagnosed Celiacs
Mayo Clinic

If I can help one family out there so that they don't have to suffer longer than we did to find an answer to this problem, than I will talk about Celiac Disease all day and all night.

There is a quote I have heard time and time again which goes something like this:

"I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." So it is true with living Gluten Free.

With Love,


Pattee said...

very good read Susan.

Olivia Carter said...

Such a good post. I've learned a lot from chatting with you about this. So interesting.

I don't think we have anything like this in our family- none of the symptoms- but when we are eating healthy we all but eliminate most major gluten. And I feel great. Be it the fish, veggies, or lack of gluten I don't know but this was a great read!

Susan said...

Thank you guys! :)