Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting Personal: Celiac Symptoms

 When you look at me..do I look like someone who can get sick for up to a month from less than 1/8 of a tsp. of gluten? Do I look like someone who weighed well over 200 lbs less than a year and a half ago? Do I look like someone who struggles every day in every social situation to not get sick? Do I look like someone who was sick for over 15 years?

I was asked by a colleague today to write about my Celiac symptoms and I must admit that this is a post I have wanted to do but have been procrastinating on. To list my symptoms is like looking at a list of things that I have struggled with for a long time and now am finally healing from. I will be honest and say that I pray that someone else finds answers... as God answered me when I was begging Him what was wrong with me.

Please remember as with all auto-immune diseases: there are no "typical symptoms" and some will have all and some will have next to none. Being tested medically is the only sure fire way to know.

My symptoms:
1. If I have any gluten at all my stomach bloats up like I a pregnant (I used to be asked when I was "due" all of the time) followed by diarrhea and vomiting.
2. Infertility (particularly fun when people are asking when you are "due").
3. Abdominal pain like someone is stabbing you with a knife in the stomach.
4. Irritability and Depression (Mayo Clinic is currently conducting fabulous research on the Neurological impact of Celiac disease)..will post more on this later.
5. Migraines that last for up to a week.
6. Numbness in parts of my arms and hands.
7. Muscle cramps
8. Skin rash (I get lovely blisters on my bottoms of my feet: Dermatitis herpetiformis and in my nose).
9. Mouth sores (more fun).
10. Weight gain (see my earlier post on my workout rules). 40% of people with Celiac are considered obese.
11. Fatigue (I feel like I have been hit by a train if I get any gluten).
12. "Fatty" "oily" stools..gross but you know what I am talking about if you have them.

There are many sites including http://www.celiac.com/ that list the symptoms in much more detail.
This is a serious disease that can lead to things like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and death if left untreated. The only way to treat Celiac disease is to adopt a diet completely free of gluten.

I cannot express how much better I feel now...I remember saying "If I get rid of gluten and work out I will not feel the same..right?"...there are no words other than.."I feel completely different".

Those who are struggling or think they might have this disease. My heart joins yours in prayer..xo

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