Migraines and Celiac Disease – Is there a link?

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Migraines and Celiac Disease

I don’t know if you’ve ever been stricken by a migraine but it’s probably one of the absolute worst things your body can do to you. For me the pain starts creeping up my neck and into my temples. I can feel it from the start working its way up into my brain, just waiting for the debilitating pain in a few hours.

Then my vision gets blurred and my head starts to officially pound. I can feel my veins throbbing in my head and neck. Any amount of light makes me nauseous and hurts eyes and my head even more. I’m fortunate that mine usually last about a day, but that day knocks me out for good. I don’t want to see, talk to or hear from anyone. It’s a time of solitude in my bedroom, in the dark.

I don’t get migraines that often but I do get them when I have gluten, which for me is one of the signs I’ve been poisoned. Sometimes I get them around my menstrual cycle but since I had my endometriosis surgery, they haven’t been around like before.

A new study was published in the Headache journal by Dr. Peter Green with new information on not only celiac disease but irritable bowel diseases and their connection to migraines as well. Here’s what they found…

The study included 502 people, 188 with celiac disease, 111 with inflammatory bowel disease, 25 with gluten sensitivity, and 178 who didn’t have any of the conditions. The researchers included clinical, demographic, and dietary information on the people in their survey, as well as questions about headache type and frequency.

Results show that chronic headaches were reported by 30% of the people with celiac disease, 56% of those who were gluten sensitive, 23% of those with inflammatory bowel disease, and 14% of those without the conditions.

The results show an even higher incident of chronic headaches with people who have gluten sensitivity over celiac disease. My biggest question with the results of this study is wondering if those 56% of people with gluten sensitivity continued to eat small amounts of gluten and that could be cause for the high number. At first I wondered about the low celiac disease number, but probably most of those people have tried to completely eliminate gluten from their diets thus resulting in less side effect symptoms like migraines.

Obviously, this was a small study group but the numbers are pretty high for people with bowel diseases and headaches. I think more people need to look into why they get migraines because usually there is a larger issue at hand causing them and taking an ibuprofen is just a band aid on a gaping wound that needs stitches.

My cousin had debilitating headaches until she stopped consuming artificial sweeteners like aspartame and MSG. There was a much larger issue for her causing these problems. The food she consumed affected her ability to function and now with that knowledge she has them way less, if at all anymore. Natural sweeteners such as Stevia are available online from vendors such as Wal-Mart and Swanson Vitamins.

We just need another reminder to stop and think if something is happening repeatedly, out of the norm, our bodies need a check to make sure that there isn’t a larger issue. Migraines and celiac disease are a very real connection but they are also a connection to so many other things!

 

Gluten-Free Diet Making you Fat? 5 Tips to Shed the Pounds

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We’ve all seen the articles recently talking about “gluten-free diets” and how the media has hyped up the gluten-free industry making others believe it is a fad diet like the Atkins or South Beach. I hear people tell me they went gluten-free and lost 20 pounds or some other amount but when they actually start explaining what they were eating, it was essentially just cutting the processed foods out of their diet. They were adding in more fruits and vegetables. Taking out the breads, pastas and other gluten filled things that are poison to those of us with celiac.

This post is not meant to be a debate with people over gluten and if it is healthy or not. It’s simply one girls opinion on the foods we consume and why a gluten-free diet won’t make you lose weight. I don’t believe you need to go on a gluten-free diet. I do believe you need to go on a “remove processed foods diet.”

My personal opinion is that gluten isn’t going to kill you if your body can tolerate it. I believe there are lots of people out there that can eat a pizza and have no problems other than weight gain and excess caloric consumption. I also believe there are many people out there that struggle with gluten but brush it off by taking medications like Prilosec or Tums to avoid the real issue. I mean these drug companies are even advocating for people to take their pills before consuming junk food and proud of it! Consuming the healthier options needs to be the right choice if you are going to eat gluten. A piece of whole grain bread is certainly better than a pop tart when it comes to gluten filled foods but an apple is even better.

I am however in the group of people who believes processed foods, chemicals and other disgusting additives are giving our kids behavioral problems, starting girls on their periods at an extremely young age and adding to the horrific number of health problems in the United States. It never ceases to amaze me that we constantly have to have discussions about why this is happening to us, why we are so obese, why we suffer from so many health conditions and yet everyone is willing to sweep the real food issue under the rug.

Eating gluten-free is not a choice for me anymore. I went through the phase in the first 5 months or so when I ate the same boxed, processed gluten-free foods every day. I pretty much sustained life off of Pop Chips and Annie’s gluten-free mac and cheese. I also started to gain weight. Gluten free foods made me gain weight. No, wait – processed gluten-free foods made me gain weight.

I started eating much more whole foods towards the end of last summer. Real, whole, non processed, from the earth foods.

But I still kept gaining weight. Turns out the estrogen from the endometriosis was causing me to gain weight but in theory I should have lost weight based on what I was eating. The frustration led me to consume more packaged gluten-free snack foods. Major fail.

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So, are you eating gluten-free and gaining weight or not able to lose weight? Let me give you my top 5 tips on how you can change the pattern.

1. Limit processed & packaged gluten-free foods. This is probably the biggest one of all time. Stop eating the gluntino oreos!! Just because these foods are gluten-free, doesn’t mean we can go gung ho and eat whatever gluten-free foods we want. Processed foods are just that… made from things that are made – not grown! Gluten free processed foods just come with different ingredients that aren’t great for us either, our bodies can actually digest them. Stick with meats, fruits and vegetables that are naturally gluten-free!

2. Moderation is always the key. Regardless of if you are eating gluten-free or not, moderation is the key. If you want to have a gluten-free cookie or brownie. Have 1 and move on with your day. But again, just because it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean that’s the green light to consume massive quantities. I’ve found myself saying “well, it’s ok because it’s gluten-free so I can have as many as I want.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

3. Watch salt intake and hidden calories from sauces and marinades. Salt makes us bloat. Salt makes us retain water. Salt affects our blood pressure. Aaron and I went on the DASH diet a while back and now we can barely handle a meal at Chipotle without looking pregnant afterwards.

4. Be cautious of empty calories. The gluten-free foods often contain a higher calorie and fat count than regular foods so when you add into that empty calories from sodas, desserts and alcohol, it can add up much faster than you would imagine.

5. Stop cheating on the gluten-free lifestyle. That seesaw effect of gluten – no gluten can really take a toll on your body and not just with your stomach. It affects your brain chemistry, hormones along with organs and digestive system.

BONUS TIP: Exercise – start moving 30 minutes a day for 4-5 days per week.

If you try all these things and the weight still isn’t coming off, I would encourage you to go and get checked by your doctor. Have a full blood count and panel done, check your thyroid, check your hormone levels (guys testosterone too!) and talk to your doctor about any other symptoms you continue to have despite eating gluten-free.

A strict gluten-free diet should take care of celiac disease. If you are still having problems, it is likely there are other things going on that need medical attention, like me with the endometriosis.

 

 

 

 

Natural Remedies: Acupuncture and/or Acupressure for Endometriosis

Yesterday, I completely forgot to write a post about a recent experience with massage. I really love a great massage, especially if the masseuse has great, strong hands. Deep tissue massages are a great way to help your muscles!

While I attended the Earth Fare Columbus health fare last weekend, I met  Kathy Petty. She was doing chair massages and won me over in less than 5 minutes. She made me a believer and my body melted in her hands.

Tuesday (the day before my laparascopy), I went to get a massage with Kathy at her location on Cleveland Ave (just a little south of 270). Kathy is trained in acupressure and told me she enjoys incorporating some of those pressure points into massages. The massage was fantastic however something interesting happened when I was on the table.

Kathy began massaging my feet which always feels amazing. I would pay for someone to just dig into my hands and feet. Well, a little ways into the massage on my feet, I felt an incredible pain near my ankle and almost flew off the massage table. I asked her what that point was that she just applied pressure to because it was painful and her reply, “uterus.” I couldn’t believe what she just said. My other sore point on my feet was for my ovaries! Incredible to me.

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Kathy didn’t know anything about my history with cramping nor did she know I was going to have a laparascopy the following day to check my lady parts!

Acupressure is just one of a number of Asian bodywork therapies (ABT) with roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. Through these invisible channels flows vital energy or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.

According to theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are used to help restore balance. Herbal and nutritional therapy, meditation, and therapeutic massage may also help. – Source WebMD

I’ve also done acupuncture in the past with Dr. Shauna Hindman of Polaris Wellness Acupuncture and Chiropractic Center to help me with my sleeping. I will be the first to admit I was skeptical about the entire process. But when I started becoming more calm and sleeping better, I became a believer. Another issue for me is the needles. I know many of you are like me and think the needles will be painful, but in actuality the are not!

I’m thinking based on how my recovery is going right now, next week I should be able to get with Dr. Shauna and start my acupuncture again. She sent me this amazing article on how acupuncture can help endometriosis.  I’m trying to take it easy, rest and sleep a lot to help my body recover from the trauma of  surgery.

Over the last few years, I’ve become much more aware of my body  and what I’m putting into it with food and medications. I do believe that there is something to acupressure and acupuncture. As I continue through this journey, I will keep everyone updated on how my treatment process is going.

I’m struggling today with a very bad sore throat and am in a decent amount of pain if I try to move around too much. I haven’t experienced the C02 yet but I’m waiting for it. I am happy I actually have some answers but now it is just another ailment to add to the rest of them. Should I update my resume for under the skills section to say: Celiac disease, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, Latex Sensitivity, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Endometriosis and poor vision. (just kidding of course)

Which leads me to the question:

How many of you are handling or treating your endometriosis naturally? 

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This celiac mask is really getting on my nerves.

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Disclaimer: Men this post is for the ladies :)

Celiac disease is quite the emotional roller coaster. Whenever it seems as though you’ve got it figured out, something new creeps in just to keep you on your toes. Hence the title of this post about celiac being a “mask.”

Wednesday I’m having a laparoscopic procedure done to check for anything going on in my reproductive organs like endometriosis. I keep having these stabbing like cramping pains throughout the month and my ovulation time is excruciating. And even after cutting gluten, latex fruits/veggies, lactose, corn and poultry – I continue to gain weight right in my belly region. No, I am not pregnant.  

I’ve gained 10 pounds since Christmas and almost 20 since last summer. Today I woke up and weighed 5 pounds more than I did yesterday along with feeling a tightness and fullness in my stomach that I never usually have. Something is going on. I feel completely uncomfortable and out of control. I don’t eat gluten-free processed junk foods so I know that isn’t the case and even if I did do that, the weight doesn’t come on that quickly from over eating.

It really is true that once you resolve the main problem, you start finding things that were masked by the undiagnosed issue. Once you cut one thing, another comes along making you wonder if you are ever going to be able to eat anything ever again.

For me – I was diagnosed with celiac disease, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and arthritis last January. At that time, I cut gluten, poultry and latex laden fruits/vegetables. Then in the spring I cut lactose too as Greek yogurt continued to irritate my stomach. Finally in December, I cut corn. I’m not sure there is anything else to cut.

I’ve been able to manage the Hashimoto’s strictly with food. My thyroid levels are perfect with no extra medication. It took a full year to get there but I’m happy I chose not to take medicine.

Then I started feeling sick again last fall, which didn’t make sense because I’ve been very diligent about gluten removal only to find out that I should have cut corn too. The over compensation of corn products sent my body into overdrive again.

As a fluke, my old obgyn didn’t fill my Nuva Ring prescription and I have been off that for almost 2 months now. It’s amazing that my migraine headaches went away during my last 2 periods and I’m sleeping perfectly. Could it be that was causing all my sleep problems for the last 10 years?

Bottom line: I feel amazing. My head is clear. I’m productive again. I feel like I’m on top of my game. I’m not having any stomach pains (the old kind) and all of my blood work levels are perfect. So why am I having these other issues?? It is so cruel to think that I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and there continues to be one missing link each time I think things are great.

Hopefully, Wednesday is the last missing link and I can get that all figured out. I will post again at the end of this week and let you know how it goes. I get really nervous about these types of procedures simply because I don’t have them often and I am terrified of anesthesia.

What other things did you find out you had along with celiac disease? 

 

The Celiac and Corn Connection: Should you eliminate corn from your diet?

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that despite eating gluten free for over a year now, I continued to struggle last fall with some symptoms. Despite my bowel problems significantly improving (if not disappearing) I continued to suffer from excessive sleep, exhaustion, brain fog, moodiness, unexplained weight gain, severe joint/muscle soreness after exercising and an overall feeling of something not being right.

Finally in December I went and had my blood drawn again only to find that my gliadin levels actually have worsened over the last year. They should have significantly improved after strictly eliminating gluten from my diet and beauty products. Obviously I was concerned about this.

My doctor emailed me and said that recent studies have shown that corn and oats (even gluten free oats) are problematic for those of us with diagnosed celiac disease. The research was not done on people with gluten insensitivity or intolerance but very specifically for people who have been proven to have HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. I have both of these genes. You can read more about this study in the Plant Foods for Human Nutrition Journal.

Please do not take this the wrong way as I am not advocating for everyone who is gluten free to eliminate corn. For some people it is completely fine, but for those of us who actually cut gluten from their diet and continue to have ailments, this is something to research and consider.

Like many of you that are cutting gluten, you find yourself thrown into a world of corn. It seems that corn is even more difficult to eliminate than gluten. Corn is in EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING.

I bought a bag of Lays Kettle chips – wrong – actually they are cooked in corn oil. You have to purchase the Kettle brand kettle chips for them to actually be safe for our consumption. Lesson learned.

It’s been exactly 2 weeks since I eliminated corn from my diet and I feel amazing. I am sleeping like a rock for 8 hours or so, I feel my head has cleared and I can actually be productive, I’ve done a couple of challenging workouts without any severe joint pain and muscle sorriness. I’d say overall this is a game changer for me. I am amazed that just after a couple of weeks, I feel this much better.

I see my doctor tomorrow and will update everyone with his comments!

Just something to think about when finding out you actually have the celiac genes and are still not getting well even after months of living gluten free. The things we find out day after day with this darn disease.

Comments

  1.  sarahporto says:

    Best wishes on figuring this out! Glad to hear you’re already feeling better. your quote “the things we find out day after day with this darn disease” resonates with me. Sometimes it feels like a never ending battle.But stay strong–as you already are–and you will get this figured out!

     

  2.  petitepea says:

    I found this article very interesting. I have had severe corn allergies (asthma, gastric upset, mood swings) and tested not only allergic to corn but the 90 some smuts(molds) that grow on corn. This fall i suddenly had all the joints in my body swell and become painful. My doctors wanted to do nothing until had this pain and swelling for at least 3-4 months but did get one to order ANA and RA factor blood tests which came back normal which means i likely do not have an auto immune disease or rheumatoid arthritis. So i began researching joint pain and swelling online and foods associated with it and it all came back to glutens. i went gluten free and within a few days saw improvement and after 3 weeks no more joint pain of swelling. Christmas came and i made the traditional pecan sticky buns and cheated by having some on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. by the night of Christmas Day I was miserable as all my joints were once again swollen and in pain. Returned to gluten free and after a few days subsided again.

    Due to a chronic leukemia I was diagnosed with a couple years ago, my body has increased histamines so things I was never notably allergic to before in the last 3 years I have developed numerous severe even anaphylatic allergic reactions. I had an anaphylatic reaction to sulfa antibiotics which has lead to severe reactions to sulfates which means i have to eat organic anything that grows in the ground (fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains etc) because non-organic farming methods use ammonia sulfate as a fertilizer and that is enough to cause my lips and throat to swell.

    My quandary is finding the combo of gluten-free, corn-free and organic – very challenging to find all three. i have yet to find organic almond flour. Anybody have any ideas?

    Deb

     

    •  jacquiglutenfree says:

      I grind my almonds in the food processor to make flour. It is not as fine as some, but still works well for me. Have used it in breads.

       

      •  petitepea says:

        I was told that its hard to grind almonds without having them turn into nut butter which is why haven’t tried that. how long do you process them?

         

  3.  Sarah says:

    I have given up Gluten, Dairy and corn and it is life changing! Corn is not a good thing for me ether and I really think its worse for me the gluten…but I still need to stay away from all of the above. Headaches are gone, losing weight, less sleepy and things are moving along so much better!!

Celiac Disease and Sleeping – The frustrating journey of falling and staying asleep.

Meet our Boston Terrier Maggie. She sleeps about 20 hours/day. On the couch, in her crate or in her bed – she can be found snoozing all over our house.

Yet for me, it’s another sleepless night, awake on Pinterest and about to go Edit Edit date and timedownstairs to read on the couch. Ever since I can remember I struggled with falling asleep. As a kid I would read with a flashlight under my blankets, leaving me exhausted in the morning. As a teenager, I would read until all hours of the night or sneak downstairs and watch tv, leaving me exhausted in the morning. As an adult, working a 9-5 job left me again exhausted in the mornings.

Right now I’m in a really great routine. Falling asleep around 2am and getting up about 10am. That’s giving me 8 hours of sleep. Right now I have the amazing ability to set my own schedule since I own my own business. I can assure you everyone that knows me avoids calling me before 10 am if they want me to answer nicely.

When I struggled around July of this year, the doctor gave me a very low dose of Ambien to sleep through the night. That stuff is amazing. I know why people get addicted. Being able to fall asleep on command and wake up feeling refreshed and re-energized was a novel concept. I knew what was about to happen though, I’ve tried this before with Lunesta a few years ago when my Uncle died. My body becomes very dependent easily and requires more drugs to make me actually fall asleep. It took me 2 days of zero sleep to actually start sleeping on my own again after 8 weeks of using the pills.

But why the struggle? Is it because I’m always thinking of new business opportunities, ideas or worries? Is it because my body just has its own schedule that I need to work around? Is it because I’m terrified someone is going to murder me in my sleep?

I’ve tried everything. Reading before bed with no tv or phone lights, hot baths, warm milk, tea, melatonin, Valerian root, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, getting on a schedule, working out, etc. I will tell you the best thing I tried was Acupuncture – it really seemed to help me sleep. I just can’t afford to go regularly right now because our insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the visit. Next year I will put more money into our flexible spending account to go to the Acupuncturist more often. I will write an entirely different blog post on the acupuncture!

In the past I’ve read articles about people who suffer from IBS and other stomach like symptoms don’t usually sleep well because their gut is always in distress and can’t adequately rest while you sleep, thus causing the sleeplessness and insomnia. If your body can’t rest, you will never feel rested when you wake up. I’ve been gluten-free for almost a year now and I’m just starting to think that my body is programmed differently than other people and I just need to accept it and move on. Stop worrying about something I can’t control.

I run into problems when I have obligations that are before 10 am! Obviously, it is very difficult to wake up early if you go to bed very late. On a positive note, I probably get more done between midnight and 2am than I do in an entire day! No one is awake, no tempting social media, no one texting/calling/emailing me – total alone time to focus on my million projects!

Some people are night owls and others are early birds. To me, the early bird can have the worm because they are gross anyway!

What are you… A night owl or an early worm?

Celiac and Infertility: Is there a connection? My personal story…

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In 2010, my husband and I decided we would start trying to have a baby. After only 2 months of trying, I found out I was pregnant a couple of weeks before Christmas. I remember missing my period by 1 day and taking a pregnancy test right before leaving for a trip to Ikea, a 2 hour drive to meet my in-laws to do some holiday shopping. After taking the test and seeing it was positive, I ran downstairs to tell Aaron and he was thrilled. The entire way to Ikea, I couldn’t wait to tell his parents. I knew they were going to be excited to be grandparents.

I went back and forth on if I was going to tell people but I decided to blab to everyone. I’m the worst secret keeper in the universe. People asked if I was nervous about sharing the news so soon after getting pregnant due to the risk of a miscarriage. “No, I’m healthy so I’m sure it will be fine” was my answer to comments like this. Boy was I wrong.

January 8th was our first sonogram appointment and I was 10-11 weeks pregnant. Aaron was late getting to the appointment and I got so mad at him in the lobby waiting for him! We went in the room and after a few minutes the technician broke the horrible news, “I’m not finding a heart beat.” All I remember from that moment forward was Aaron holding my hand and tears streaming down my cheeks. How could this be? How could this be happening? I’m healthy and fit – why was this happening to me?

For 7 years I worked in child welfare, watching mothers use drugs and neglecting their bodies only to have babies repeatedly with seemingly no complications. It just wasn’t fair I kept saying to myself, I take care of my body. I’m healthy, I’m fit and I can’t even have a baby? It just didn’t make sense to me. Something had to be wrong.

The doctor thought I would naturally miscarry on my own from the stress of finding out the news so she let me go home and call in a few days to update her. I went from buying baby things to a miscarriage in the blink of an eye.

Nothing was easy of course… I didn’t naturally miscarry on my own and had to spend a weekend taking pills to induce labor. They didn’t work and after 2 weeks I ended up having a D&C done to remove the gestational sack.

After 6 months with ovulation problems, cysts and cramping, the doctor finally put me back on birth control to regulate my system in the fall of 2011. Little did I know, this was going to open the door my celiac disease diagnosis.

Dr. Aukerman explained women with undiagnosed celiac disease struggle with pregnancies because their bodies are so  malnourished and depleted of vitamins and minerals, they can’t grow a fetus. If your body is exhausted from constantly fighting itself, I’m not sure how it is even feasible. He did say that the majority of his patients once they are diagnosed go on to have healthy pregnancies if they wait until their levels are normal and the body has healed.
Of course I was relieved to find this out but frustrated that no one ever explained that to me in the past and no one ever found my celiac. Right now we aren’t actively trying to have a baby but we will in the future and it’s reassuring to know I’m dealing with the main health problem and can help my fertility when we do try again.

I tell this story to give other women hope and encouragement. If you aren’t happy with what your doctor is telling you or you aren’t sure – get a second opinion. Trust your gut, trust your instincts. I knew something was wrong but no one else caught it. I might not have understood or knew why I had a problem, but I just knew something wasn’t right.
I found great information on the Celiac Central website about infertility and celiac disease:

Celiac Disease and Infertility Link:
Over the last 10 years, several studies have examined the link between celiac disease and infertility and found that women suffering from unexplained infertility may have clinically silent celiac disease.

  • One study conducted by physicians at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia found that the rate of recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSAB) and infertility in celiac disease patients is at least four times higher than the general population. They suggested that patients who experience unexplained infertility or RSAB should be screened for celiac.
  • Another study from the Department of Medicine at Tampere University Hospital and Medical School at the University of Tampere Finland found that the rate of celiac disease among women reporting infertility was 4.1%. Although the exact reason for the increased risk remains unknown, the researchers suggested that female celiac patients who are not adhering to a gluten-free diet have a shortened reproductive period and early menopause. Males with celiac disease have shown gonadal dysfunction, which could also contribute to fertility complications.
  • The link between celiac disease and infertility is currently being evaluated by researchers at Molinette Hospital in Turin Italy. Early reports from their research suggest that the prevalence of celiac disease among women with unexplained infertility is 2.5% to 3.5% higher than the control population. They suggest that celiac disease represents a risk for abortion, low birth weight babies and short-breast feeding periods, all of which can be corrected with a gluten-free diet.

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  • I definitely believe there is a link between infertility and Celiac. I found out in July 2011 that I have premature ovarian failure…the following December they finally diagnosed me with Celiac disease. I had been sick for quite awhile before they caught it and the doctors say it is not reversible. I am post-menopausal at 36 and on hormone replacement therapy and a gluten free diet.

     

  •  Laura Chang

    There is hope! I was diagnosed with celiac in 2008, and told (incorrectly) by my OB at the time that I may experience trouble becoming pregnant…was she ever wrong! Both my boys (ages two and three months) were conceived on the first try(!!!) and other than morning sickness, I had no complications.

     

    •  PrettyLittleCeliac

      Laura-

      Were you already diagnosed celiac prior to trying to get pregnant? Did you already eliminate gluten?

       

      •  Laura Chang

        I was gluten-free for nearly two years before I became pregnant in late 2009. It was quite a surprise how easily it happened–guess my body healed quickly once I went GF. (Cautionary tale, if you’re planning on it taking a while to get pregnant! I was mentally prepared to wait for months, and it was the shock of a lifetime when I got a positive result after two weeks.)

        PrettyLittleCeliac
      • My doctor said I would likely have no problems now that I went gluten free and take vitamins to supplement my deficiencies. That’s wonderful to know!

 

 

Celiac and Ear Wax: Is there a connection?

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Ear Wax and Celiac?

My entire life I’ve been accused of “yelling” or speaking too loudly. I never understood what anyone was talking about because I spoke in my normal voice. Regardless, I seemed to always get hushed. I’ve always found myself asking people to repeat themselves or saying “what.”

In 2005, I jumped in a pool and it caused my ear drum to pop leaving me in the emergency room with my new boyfriend. Talk about embarrassing. Aaron sat there while I laid in agony on the table as the nurse pulled ear wax balls out of my ear canal. The doctor said I must have had an ear infection for a long time and it finally had enough with the pool water. I left the emergency room with a ton of medication and a wonderful boyfriend who later became my husband.

I know you aren’t supposed to use Qtips – but they feel SO good. Every single time I use them, I get so much junk out of my ear. I realize I’m pushing more probably into my ear canals but I don’t think what comes out of them is normal.

The ER doc referred me to an ENT specialist that I went to off and on for a few years. He always seemed to have the same reason for the wax and pain in my ears – “seasonal allergies.” I honestly think that’s the generic term for everything and can just be cured with allergy meds.

It wasn’t until this year when I started putting all the pieces together. I recently found this article on the Livestrong website about Histamine and ear pain with celiac disease:

“During an allergic reaction to gluten, various chemicals are released that cause your blood vessels to dilate and irritate soft tissues. Histamine is the primary chemical in your body that causes inflammation and swelling to occur in soft tissues. As histamine levels increase in the soft tissues in your ears, swelling causes blockage in your inner ear that can lead to congestion. The congestion may also cause fluid to build up within the ear, causing temporary hearing loss.”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/542914-gluten-ear-problems/#ixzz28WfLkMDJ

Ear wax is 20 to 50 percent fat, and it coats the ear canal to moisturize it, fight off infection, and help keep dust, dirt, and other debris from getting deep inside your ear. Maybe it is also a protector against other things your body doesn’t want too and it’s a response from having the gluten poison.
I did notice when I stopped eating gluten, my ear pain went away and my “seasonal allergies” seemed to disappear. There are occasions when I think I’ve got a little ear pressure or runny nose but sometimes that’s just normal life.
Again, I’m not a doctor! Just one gal describing her symptoms and signs wondering out loud if they are all related. Sometimes it takes a while to put all the pieces together… With over 200 symptoms of Celiac disease… how could anyone piece all this stuff together??

 

 

No, I am not a hypochondriac… I suffer from Celiac disease!

Happy 5 year anniversary to my loving, wonderful husband who is also my best friend. The past few years have been quite the journey and I don’t think I could have gotten through everything without his never ending support.

We had a $50 gift card to Cameron Mitchell and a $20 gift card from Open Table (which is an awesome reservation app) – so spending a bit more on dinner for our Anniversary didn’t seem that bad. Ocean Club is pricey. 2 drinks each and dinner for 2 was $120 plus tip.

Ocean Club at Easton Town Center is a celebration restaurant! Somewhere you go when you have something awesome to spend the money on like an anniversary, engagement or graduation. I just love this place. All of their menu’s can be found online. I think their gluten free menu is pretty extensive!

Ocean Club Gluten Free Menu
Ocean Club Gluten Free Menu

I don’t like that they took my absolute favorite meal off them menu – MahiMahi. It was the best I’ve found since Aruba on our Honeymoon. But they offer tons of other seafood, fish and steak items. Their regular menu is  3 pages or so – this picture is just of the gluten free options!

Filet and Bearnaise Sauce
Filet and Bearnaise Sauce

I decided on the Filet. Cooked to perfection, it melted in my mouth. Delicious!

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Blackened Snapper

Aaron went with the Blackened Snapper and said it was the best meal he’s had in a really long time.

We shared 2 sides – a loaded baked potato and corn – both were simply delightful.

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This was not gluten free on a diet. This was a celebration dinner. We didn’t even finish that potato it was so big. I think 3 people could have shared it. The corn tasted so great. A little onion but still sweet. Interesting combo we both enjoyed.

It’s been 3 hours since we ate and I still don’t have a stomach ache or bloating. My joints feel good and I haven’t had to run to the restroom yet!

Total Success!!

Obviously I liked my dinner!
Obviously I liked my dinner!
My Desert! 2 glasses of Moscato
My Desert! 2 glasses of Moscato

We finished the night off with a trip to Barnes and Noble to check out the latest books and then a hop, skip and jump over to Swarovski – where I picked up this little gem. I LOVE it!!! Thank you Aaron – I love you.

May everyone have as wonderful of an anniversary as we did tonight

 

 

 

 

No, I am not a hypochondriac… I suffer from Celiac disease!

Looking back upon my teen years, it’s no hidden fact that I hated school. I used to skip class to go to the grocery store or mow my grandparents lawn. When I turned 17, I moved in with my grandparents to take care of them and help them around the house. My grandmother suffered from severe emphysema from smoking for over 60 years and was on an oxygen tank. It’s actually a complete shock she didn’t blow up our house from smoking while on oxygen! I just despised being stuck in a classroom all day.

Part of the issue was that I despised waking up to go to school. That was a constant battle with my Mom. Maybe because I have just been a night owl my whole life so it’s really hard to wake up at 6am when you go to bed at 2am. If you ask my mother, she will tell you story, upon story, about me writing notes on my door and locking it “being too sick” from school and days when I flat our refused to go to school. But the more I look into it, the more I realize that the Celiac is the likely culprit of this!

Most of the days I didn’t feel well but I never understood why. I just knew my stomach always hurt and I constantly suffered from diarrhea. My mom thought I suffered from severe hypochondria because it always seemed like there was something wrong with me. Headaches, exhaustion, stomach pains… you name it, I felt like I had it. We frequented doctors about my various ailments and each time she got so mad! Allergy testing, heart rhythm testing. asthma testing, cysts on my ovaries, irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis. It never ended…. or so it felt that way!

Was I a hypochondriac?

Am I a hypochondriac now?

Fast forward to my mid-20’s. Just married, promoted to manager at work… I complained about everything. It seemed there was always something physically wrong with me. The sleeping patterns started to emerge again – up all night, tired all day. Restless sleep. More like laying than sleeping!

Maggie – Our Boston Terrier Snoozing on the Couch!
Maggie – Our Boston Terrier Snoozing on the Couch!

From constant battles with headaches, tension pain, joint pain and being tired, to be bigger problems of the last few years:

  • From the time I went to the urgent care center because I thought I was suffering from a heart attack (turns out the doctor said my pants were too tight causing heartburn – no joke)
  • to the emergency room visit when my ear drum exploded in the pool (from pressure due to extreme ear wax build up – seriously) – what the hell did my new husband think?
  • to my knee surgery in 2010 – Lateral Release, no cartilage left in my joint – my knee now floats… (who has a floating knee?)
  • to my miscarriage in 2011 – that was a complete nightmare
Knee Surgery
Knee Surgery
My Nurse, Coach
My Nurse, Coach

It’ wasn’t until last year that I think everyone took it seriously. My symptoms were all leading up to the greater problem of celiac. All those headaches. All the trips to the bathroom. All the weird symptoms and health problems over the years, were likely caused by a condition no one diagnosed until I turned 30.

I read an article that said it takes 6-10 years on average for someone to actually be diagnosed with celiac disease.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve asked my mom and sister to get tested repeatedly. She asked her general practitioner about the testing and he said if she didn’t suffer from bowel distress, she doesn’t need the test. That could be further from the truth. She has plenty of the other symptoms of the disease. This shows you how misinformed doctors are about Celiac disease.

I’m convinced my uncle had celiac disease – he died from pancreatic cancer in 2005.

2 family members on my mother’s side suffer from schizophrenia. Studies show a correlation between undiagnosed celiac disease and higher incidents of schizophrenia.

All of these signs point to problems in the family. Yet the doctor tells her she doesn’t need tested. I’m not a Phd, but I think I probably know more about celiac disease than him.

I feel like I’ve gone off on a tangent but I have a point!

Growing up I had the signs. All the signals pointed towards celiac disease but it took me countless doctors and problems to actually find someone who understood the disease to make a correct diagnosis.

Don’t discount your kids if they start having them!

If your family members don’t have bowel problems but suffer from other symptoms like headache, exhaustion or the 200 other symptoms of celiac disease… continue to educate them on celiac until they get tested!

Don’t give up on people. Don’t brush of the symptoms.

1 in 133 people suffer from celiac disease and it is highly misdiagnosed. If you have confirmed celiac, it is likely your family could potentially suffer from the same – especially children or parents.

We have to do this as a community. We have to be supportive of others and unite together to understand and encourage each other in the lengthy process. We have to help those who were like us – having people question our integrity, making us feel “crazy” with our symptoms.

This is why I created Pretty Little Celiac.