I Thought I Was the Only One….

I just finished up reading A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health by Jacqueline Wolf.

Let’s just say…I thought I was the only one who had stomach issues.  I really learned a lot reading the book.  Never did I think the bloating, fast trips to the bathroom, heartburn, pain in my side and rash on my leg could all be related to each other-but now I think they are.

I think it’s all related to what I eat.  Maybe I’m crazy for thinking that they related but for me, I don’t think I am.

After reading the book, I went back to the doctor and talked with her.  She suggested a few tests including abdominal x-rays and a test for celiac disease.  Since the earlier tests I had, I’ve been avoiding gluten and I can tell you, I’ve felt much better.  While waiting for the test results, I continued to avoid gluten.

The bloating has quit.  The heart burn has quit.  The pain in my side is gone and the rash on my leg is gradually getting better.  All the way around I feel a little better.  This made me think that I might test positive for celiac disease but I didn’t.

I don’t have a clue if the things that have bothered me are all related or if there is some label or dysfunction that they all can fall under and for the most part, it doesn’t matter to me.  As long as I know I’m feeling better by avoiding gluten, I just think that’s what I’ll do.

I decided to share this all with you as I am guessing one or two you who read this will relate to my symptoms and might benefit from reading this book.  I truly welcome any comments or advice any of you might be able share with me on the topic….it’s really nice to know-I’m not the only one!

14 thoughts on “I Thought I Was the Only One….

  1. Libby Smith

    Though I haven’t talked to a doctor about this (I will later this month), I have similar symptoms and have come to the conclusion it’s not the gluten but the sugar which, incidentally is a byproduct of most foods containing gluten (i.e., bread), that’s the cause of our problems. This is causing an overproduction of candida in our gut. Here’s just one site I’ve been reading: http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/how-to-overcome-candida-naturally. I have become aware that almost everything I eat contains sugar in some form. It’s a HARD habit to break. Please keep us aware of your progress.

  2. Mary Jo

    I just finished reading a book called “Grain Brain” and I have quit eating all grain. It is unbelievable how much better I feel. My biggest problem was bloating, but I also just felt “blah”. I also have stopped eating most things with sugar, but not to the degree that I am avoiding grain. Since Jan 3 I have lost only 2 lbs, but I am fastening my belt in the next hole and tight clothes are no longer tight. I still need to loose some weight, but the way I feel makes all the difference…and the brain fog that I had so much trouble with is much better as well.
    My sister has also found out that she is allergic to baker’s yeast and eliminating both yeast and sugar from her diet has just made a huge difference in both the way she feels and with her weight.
    I think that our foods have become so genetically modified and so over processed that our bodies don’t not how to handle them.
    Good luck with finding the solution for your issues.

  3. P.

    I also tested negative (on blood work by my doctor) for celiac, but felt so much better giving up gluten that I continued. I had read that if you had been avoiding gluten before you have the blood test, you could get a false negative. At any rate, there was no way I was going to start eating it again. Then I had a different kind of test for it by Enterolab (you can google them) about six months later, because they test a different (ahem) bodily substance and it is more sensitive than the blood test. That came back positive. I shared those results with my medical doctor and he was satisfied with them. So they call it gluten intolerance. Also, Enterolab runs a DNA test and I had the genes for gluten intolerance, so that was that. I have not touched gluten (knowingly) since late 2006/2007. Next to go was dairy, because the Enterolab test noted a casein intolerance. Finally, the other gut issue I only recently learned more about and made sense is the role of FODMAPS, which are substances in some foods (think beans, as one instance) that can cause digestive “issues.” I read the list and ticked them off, “yep, yep, yep.” Not that you can’t eat those foods, but you may have varying reactions with them. I call it a “threshold.” I.e., I can eat avocados, beans, onions, in limited amounts, not go hog wild or I’ll have problems. So it’s a learning process. In the gluten intolerance/celiac communities, if you respond positively and feel better giving up gluten, there’s your answer. Good for you for taking a proactive role in your health!

  4. P.

    Oh, and PS (as if the first comment wasn’t long enough), I agree with the other commenters on sugar. It feeds the bacteria in the gut and can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria over the good gut bacteria, even if you are gluten-free (been there, done that).

    Also, taking a good probiotic can help balance your gut bacteria. I took acidophilus for years with little noticeable effect, but then switched to a different probiotic, Florastor, a year ago, and that has made a world of difference.

  5. Conny

    I had many of the same symptoms and could never figure out why. Then it was suggested that I go off gluten to try to alleviate some of my pain. Apparently gluten causes inflammation. I noticed immediately that the heartburn and stomach upset were gone. Several months in I realized that my migraines were also gone. Instead of 1 or 2 a week now it is one or two every six months. I have also been told that I am not celiac but I have made the choice to live without gluten. As much as I love bread, it is just not worth it. I have recently read a book called The Virgin Diet. It is all about food allergies and is extremely interesting. She really goes into detail about how your body responses to food that you are sensitive or allergic to. It is a worthwhile read. It takes a while to find good gluten free recipes but slowly you find them. I have an excellent chocolate cake recipe made with Quinoa and a great pumpkin muffin recipe. Just send me an email if you want them.

  6. Linda

    Thanks–I would love to read that book—I had all the issues you had….I had a huge hive on my chest for a time…..The hives etc are gone if I don’t eat gluten. Sometimes I would look like I was seven months pregnant I was so bloated….I was avoiding gluten when I had the Celiac test so I don’t think it was accurate….but I am so much better without gluten that I will stay with a gluten free diet.. I am gluten intolerant for sure..Good for you searching for answers…..I wish Conny would send those recipes to all of us…

  7. Skye

    Good for you, Jo! And yes, I would say that they most definitely are related. If you want to really have an eye opener as to how food affects our bodies in ways we don’t think about I’d recommend the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
    It’s an excellent cookbook & has tons of information, well documented as well. When I first bought it, I sat & read it like a book before I started cooking from it.
    Congratulations on the great turn of health events!!

  8. Celia

    Thank you for sharing your experience with going gluten free. Couldn’t find the Grain Brain book at my library, but will look for it at Barnes and Noble. I’m cutting out sugar, bread, processed foods, reading labels, and staying far away from anything that has Aspertame in it. Also keeping a daily food journal.

  9. Pat C in Washingon

    I also recommend “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly”. While not diagnosed with celiac disease, my dad’s sister did have it, and I have found that I do much, much better digestively if I do not eat wheat.

    Plus, as a wonderful added bonus, the migraines that I used to get 2-3 days a week are pretty much GONE. I’ve had 3 since October, all attributable to changes in the barometric pressure.

  10. Julie in WA

    Judy Laquidara over at Patchwork Times blog read the Grain Brain and is adjusting her diet as well. It is fascinating following her lifestyle change! I will soon go grain free as well. Bought “The Paleo Diet” and hope to follow it for 30 days.

  11. Lochlan Stuart

    I think you might want to look into candida. Those sound like the symptoms I experienced. Candida can make you intolerant to gluten. See the website for East West Clinic in Minnesota.

  12. Ellen Lipscomb

    Jo thanks for this conversation. As we age, we can not tolerate the same foods and chemicals that we did when we were young twenty-somethings. I, too, have found that limiting wheat, sugar, and diary has gain less headaches and stomach issues. Thanks for this discussion. As women, we need to discuss body changes that can aid younger women in the future. Our mothers did not have communication networks we have now to help them as they aged.

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