Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Managing an Auto-Immune Celiac Attack

Auto-Immune attacks are inevitable for people with Celiac disease. It is not possible to avoid every grain of gluten when it takes less than 1/8 of a tsp. to trigger the immune system shutdown. A reality for people living with Celiac Sprue is learning how to manage the symptoms when it happens. Please note that the longer one with gluten sensitivities refrains from eating wheat, rye or barley (or any derivative of those) the stronger your symptoms become. I am going to go through my list of symptoms one by one (listed under the Celiac Symptoms post) and what I do to manage them.

1. Stomach bloating: This happens for up to a week with me..there is really no easy way around this one other than creative fashion styling like billowy tops, pants a size too big, leggings and tunics etc..the goal is to not look pregnant. For guys..a looser shirt and pants that don't cut into your stomach will make you feel more comfortable. For the diarrhea and vomiting, I recommend going through it and getting the gluten out of your system..you will heal quicker.

2. Infertility: Research is still not indicating a correlation between PCOS and Celiac Disease. I believe PCOS is over diagnosed and that there is much about fertility we still do not understand. The one common thread that I have learned from midwives and doctors (including Endocrinology specialists) is that weight loss is the #1 factor in naturally increasing your chances for conception with PCOS. Obviously, many other factors such as heredity, age and lifestyle choices impact your chances for conception. I encourage you to talk to a doctor who specializes in fertility if you are struggling with this issue.

3. Abdominal Pain: This can range from stabbing pain to what I call "intestinal flip flopping/ cramping"..the best cure I have found is Imodium (over the counter)..I usually have to take 2 doses but it really does calm down the stomach symptoms so your at least function. HR-132 is also a homeopathic compound that helps with pain and cramping.

4. Irritability and Depression: Good common self care is paramount here: healthy diet (get your Omega 3s and DHA through fish), daily exercise, fun/ laughter, social time and relaxation (get outside!). There are also many fabulous homeopathic and herbal remedies like St. John's Wort and HR-129. If these remedies do not help enough or if you experience a period of time when you feel like you need something more talk to a medical professional who will really listen to you and take the time to get to know how your auto-immune disease impacts your overall health.

5. Migraines: I have found that over the counter Excedrin  helps the best. I am hesitant to recommend prescription pain medication because of the body's tendency to become dependent on them.

6. Numbness: Unfortunately this is something that you have to distract yourself from..these symptoms have gotten much better and are now almost gone since going gluten free.

7. Muscle Cramps: I get these in my feet, calves, quads and hamstrings frequently. What helps the most is staying hydrated, making sure you are getting enough calcium (for those with casein sensitivities in addition to the gluten..vitamins are a must), and enough potassium (bananas are best).

8. Skin Rash ( Dermatitis herpetiformis)...this comes in various amounts for people depending on their sensitivity level. For foot sores (that itch really bad) I use an over the counter athlete's foot fungal cream which calms the sores down until they heal. For inside my nose I use a topical anti-biotic ointment like Neosporin.

9. Mouth Sores: Good old carmex for these is best or Smith's Rosebud Salve (available from many online apothecary retailers).

10. Weight Gain: The basics of a healthy diet are what works. There are no fast cures for long lasting weight loss. Portion control and healthy diet choices (including high-glycemic carbs) is what works. Remember that gluten free carb choices actually contain a naturally lower glycemic ratio so going gluten free does not mean you get to just "eat whatever you want as long as it is gluten free". If you need to lose weight also see my posts on "My Workout Rules" and "Celiac and Obesity".

11. Fatigue: Extra sleep and naps work and giving yourself time to relax. Lavender and chamomile are essential oils that boost rest. Also, relaxing in the evening, refraining from caffeine, keeping a bedtime routine and teas that contain herbal components like valerian help promote restful sleep.

12. Stools: Again, the Imodium really helps here.

For those that are currently suffering, I hold you in my heart and in my prayers and simply say "I understand". xo

1 comment:

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