Lets Talk GLUTEN

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while now, you’re probably aware that I’ve been working through some chronic stomach/digestion issues. Of course like any other stupid human being, I’ve googled my symptoms and have read through the million and one conditions that I could have. There are like 5 different cancers that trigger the same symptoms that I suffer from, so that has been super comforting. I decided to listen to my body, and one of the ways I’ve been trying to help the diagnosis (while I wait to have an endoscopy) is by tracking my meals to figure out what foods seem to cause problems. I did this for a couple of weeks, and it became clear that I have some issues with foods containing wheat and gluten. This is actually a bit of a living nightmare for me, but I’ve been feeling so terrible that I am willing to try anything to help dull some of my pain and symptoms while I wait for a diagnosis. I am in no way self-diagnosing myself as celiac, as I know how serious of a condition this is. Until I get official testing done, at this stage I am simply saying I am gluten intolerant, based on how I’ve noticed body reacting after I ingest foods that contain wheat/gluten. Some of the symptoms I noticed after ingesting wheat/gluten: headaches, dizziness, brain fog, bloating, acid reflux symptoms (burning, “hunger” pangs, nausea), chronic pain in my left (and occasionally right) side, digestive issues, deyhydration, and fatigue. That pretty much ticks all of the boxes for an intolerance. That plus the foods I’ve noticed trigger my acid reflux (tomato, onion, capsicum, chilli, fizzy drinks, alcohol, and coffee), and I have a pretty clear idea of what the culprits are. I decided to cut wheat/gluten and these additional culprits out of my diet for a week, to see how I feel. I have a doctor’s appointment on Saturday to talk to my GP (again), so don’t be concerned that I am self-diagnosing and making huge changes without professional guidance.

I’ve been “gluten free” since Friday evening, and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride so far. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling a bit disappointed that I didn’t miraculously feel better, but I told myself that I needed to give it a week before I would start to feel anything at all. Having this in the back of my mind has definitely helped. I’ve had chronic pain in my side for about a year or so now, and if the issue is what I think it is, it will take some time for my body to heal – definitely more than 12 hours, at least. Throughout the day I continued to feel pain in my side and back, and had a terrible headache creep in around dinner time. Throughout the evening my muscles ached (in particular my left arm), my stomach was upset, spots on my skin felt incredibly tender to touch, and by the time I decided to go to bed early to try and sleep it off (I think I was in bed by 8pm), my teeth were aching. The only thing that made me feel better about this (and not like I was possibly dying), was reading other people’s stories of gluten withdrawal online. This gave me some comfort that it was possibly a withdrawal causing these symptoms, and that it would pass. Thankfully, I woke up on Sunday morning with significant less pain in my side, and slight residual pain from a bad headache. As silly as it may sound, it feels like I am healing.

Moving forward, I am going to speak to my doctor about my concerns. I believe I’ve been tested for celiac before, but I want to confirm this fact. I think if I was initially told that I was negative for celiac I wouldn’t have worried about it too much, but I now know you can be sensitive or intolerant to gluten without being celiac. If that’s the case, I want to look into other avenues for testing for allergies or intolerance to wheat. If I can confirm that this is the case, I think I may also see a nutritionist to get a little bit of guidance as to what my diet should look like, if it does indeed need to continue as gluten free. I’d love to hear from any of you that live a gluten free life, or have lived with the same issues I’ve been having lately. And if anyone has a good gluten free recipe for chocolate chip cookies, I’d love to hear it.

6 Thoughts on “Lets Talk GLUTEN

  1. It sounds like you suffer like I do. I have been diagnosed as gluten intolerant and haven’t eaten wheat or gluten for more than ten years now.

    Whilst it can be difficult at times, the difference in how I feel now is huge.

    Another area worth researching is the Low FODMAP diet as your sensitivity to onions and tomatoes could incidate that you would benefit from undertaking this diet. It has honestly changed my life.

    Good luck with it all and I hope you find a resolution soon xx

  2. I am also really sensitive to wheat – I have been through so many tests (it’s definitely not gluten) – I even got an ultrasound late last year…then I got so busy I haven’t had a chance to go back to the doctor and get the results.
    Digestive issues are so frustrating because there is no real diagnoses out there. My doctor basically told me if the ultrasound returned no result then she would confirm a previous diagnosis I had received of IBS…which basically means I have symptoms but there’s no answer for why I have them, and no real way to fix it.
    Completely unsatisfactory.
    I really hope you find out what is wrong with you because not knowing is so damn painful, and frustrating.

    • Jessica on April 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm said:

      Thanks Michaela, it sounds like you went through something similar yourself, so you know how frustrating it is! I hope you get some answers too. It seems never ending sometimes.

  3. While the “Wellness” wars are raging all around, I am not going to say anything too controversial, however…… I have not had gluten for nearly a year and feel so much better for it, my symptoms were no where near as bad as yours, I just decided that my life was better without it. I also did loads of research, there is a lot of good info out there. One site I found really helpful was Paleomom,com, she is a scientist so backs up all her claims with the science behind it all. With all the Wellness wars going on I notice that she has never been picked on. Although I never intended to go Paleo, that is really where I have ended up, I eat a very basic diet and wish I had done it years ago. Also, nutrition is something that some doctors don’t have a great deal of knowledge about unfortunately. My own doctor, who I like and respect gave me some quite strange advice, won’t go into it but at the end of the conversation he just said that if it caused another problem then there was medication for it!

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