How To Tell If You Might Have Celiac Disease Before You Go To A Doctor

Gluten Intolerance Is Not Always Celiac Disease

Symptoms of Celiac Disease are not the same for everyone.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease are not the same for everyone. | Source
Most breads and flour products have gluten
Most breads and flour products have gluten | Source

Update from Rachael O'Halloran (4/1/2014)

Breaking News: According to a March 2014 report in US News: Having a diagnosis of Celiac Disease puts you at a higher risk for a diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), high cholesterol or borderline diabetes. The reason why is the chronic inflammation you are dealing with for Celiac symptoms accelerates the progression of CAD. CAD is already linked to other autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other digestive diseases. An autoimmune disease breaks down the immune system's defenses so that the body has a harder time fighting off other diseases. Celiac Disease will compromise your immune system.

Once you have one autoimmune disease, your body is a magnet for more autoimmune diseases because your defenses have already been compromised by the first one. Many people who have Celiac Disease often have or will be diagnosed with another autoimmune disease within ten years of onset.

awordlover was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 9, followed by Crohn's Disease by age 11, infertility and endometriosis by age 20, Barrett's Esophagus at age 21, Multiple Sclerosis by age 23, Rheumatoid Arthritis by age 33. All of these diseases/disorders compromise the immune system.

Doctor visits

I have been to at least one doctor to see if I have Celiac Disease.

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"I can't find anything wrong with you ..."

When a doctor says these words to a patient, they are probably the most dreaded words a patient can hear, especially after they have sweated out waiting for the day of the appointment, went through some testing, and put a lot of hope into getting some answers for what ails them.

For many, hearing these words means either starting over again with another doctor or resigning themselves to a life of dealing with their symptoms the best way they can.

Hopefully this hub will give you a little bit of knowledge before you start the process of testing for Celiac Disease to see if you meet some of the criteria.

Celiac Disease is the inability to digest gluten which is found in many grain products, but also in condiments and medications.

The first thing you have to know about Celiac Disease is that there is no "one size fits all" list of symptoms. Of the known symptoms for Celiac Disease, some people have only a few of the symptoms listed; some people have lots of the symptoms. Some people have symptoms only sometimes, other people have the symptoms all the time. There are even people who have the disease and have no symptoms at all.

I think the best way to describe having symptoms of this disease is to say one is having "episodes."

The problem with episodes is they are just that ... episodes, because usually they don't last long. Like a one hour television program, once they are over, there are little to no symptoms left over to "see."

Unless a doctor sees you "in episode," he most likely will not know the magnitude of what you are going through. Even though he may have test results to reference, he only sees you from the outside from a clinical viewpoint, while you only see yourself from the inside where it truly hurts. Two different views, one more intense than the other, both difficult to communicate to the other person.

A word of caution: If you have already started a "gluten-free" diet, and are going or have gone to be tested for Celiac Disease, you most likely have shot yourself in the foot because you have now masked your symptoms.

Masking, in this case, is when you treat what you think is wrong with you, then you go get tested for it and it doesn't show up in the results, because it is hiding behind whatever treatment you have devised for yourself.

As hard as it will be to do, to get accurate test results, you must eat the same way you normally eat, the same foods that you notice will trigger your symptoms and make you sick.

If you want test results to "show you are sick," it stands to reason that you need to be "in sick mode."

You can take your medications (over the counter or prescription) and start a gluten-free diet after the testing, but for the period before and during testing, stay off the gluten-free diet.

If you are already on a gluten-free diet, go off of the diet for a minimum of 14 days before your appointment or test date. That will help unmask your symptoms so you get a better (but probably not the most accurate) result.

While it is true that there is nothing worse than sitting in front of a doctor and have him tell you there is nothing wrong with you, it is futile trying to convince him you have some of the worse symptoms on any symptom list when you "look great!"

So pull up a chair and let's see if some of the information in this hub might be helpful to you.

All gluten sensitivity is NOT Celiac Disease

Pain

I don't have pain all the time, just sometimes

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Symptoms

My symptoms match many of the symptom lists I read on medical websites and Celiac pamphlets

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1. My unique list of symptoms of Celiac Disease

In no particular order, this is my unique symptom list -- which is slightly different than some of the Celiac Disease symptom lists you will see on websites or in books. How does it compare to your symptom list?

♦Bloating, especially an hour or so after meals or snacks

♦Painful gas, sometimes it passes, sometimes it just rolls around inside for long periods

♦Smelly gas, especially if it has rolled around for a long period - the longer it rolls around, the smellier it gets. The more diversified your diet, the smellier it gets too.

♦Vomiting - comes and goes

♦Nausea - dry heaves

♦Bouts of diarrhea or constipation, usually on alternating days but can also happen within the same day.

♦Irritability - sometimes without knowing a reason why.

♦Restless Leg Syndrome - a big problem for me (I have 3 autoimmune diseases - MS, RA & Crohns)

♦Dermatitis Herpetiformis - various body parts (mine are scalp, joints). One can have this with no other symptoms and be diagnosed with Celiac Disease (reference link above).

♦Bad breath or bad taste in mouth (sometimes dry mouth especially with dehydration from vomiting and/or diarrhea)

♦Fingers and toes, hands and feet, arms and legs get tingly in varying degrees - from just pins and needles or to all out falling asleep.

♦Numbness to one locale - when trying to pick up something with hands, or when putting on socks or shoes or starting to walk from a sitting position.

♦Jumpy facial nerves and jerky limbs (hands, feet, fingers, toes, legs arms, jaw tic, eye tic, itchy nose, tics not otherwise explained by another ailment)

♦Solid stools mixed in with soft or liquid stools on some days

♦Floating stools, semi-solid stools, soft stools, liquid stools alternating with days of solid stools

♦Pain in lower abdomen and/or pain in high abdomen,

  • Along with above stated abdominal pain, may experience pain in lower back, pain in legs (weakness), pain in diaphragm, pain in feet - toes - lower legs, AND pain in hands and fingers (not OR - usually these symptoms come along with abdominal pain)
  • Sometimes passed off as "a touch of arthritis"

♦Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy - pain in nerves of arms, legs, back, neck.

♦Craving sugary foods and caffeine foods.

♦Craving or eating a lot of grains (pizza, chips, take out sandwiches, fast food, cereal, mac and cheese, freezer waffles or toaster strudel, pop tarts, toast and margarine/jelly - just as examples).

♦Acid reflux, bile backing up in throat or periods of heartburn

♦Brain fog - can't kick yourself into gear for the day's activities or responsibilities. Different from confusion because it lasts longer (like 5 minutes to hours or until you eat a meal, especially with sugary or caffeine products). It often manifests as procrastination in starting something or getting ready to go someplace. Or brain fog can manifest with deeper levels of confusion and fall into the category of "can't remember shit" of things you have known all your life or are an expert. It is when you have those "dumb down" moments that are simply mortifying.

♦Confusion - different from brain fog, because it happens once upon a thought process - in an instant, while trying to recall the name of something, or where you misplaced something, or what street to make a turn.

♦Sleeping problems - either sleeping a lot, feeling like you haven't slept, or not getting enough sleep

♦Depression - some days you are ok, other days you have periods of depression that can be as little as five minutes to as long as a week or more; bouts of pseudobulbar affect

♦Weight gain or weight loss (usually in conjunction with vomiting and bowel changes)

♦Menstrual cycle changes - shorter or longer time between periods, missed periods, completely stopped periods, more frequent periods, length of flow days, amount of flow, changes in pain level

♦Fatigue - more than what can be explained as just being tired.

♦Feeling anemic or have had anemia show positive in previous blood test results

♦Mouth sores - sometimes painful, sometimes just annoying

♦Sensitive teeth and/or gums, sometimes bleeding gums are noticed, but usually just teeth sensitivity (hot/cold, touch, redness, gum puffiness, etc.)

♦Hemorrhoids

My Celiac Disease became Crohn's Disease . You can click the link to read at your leisure (hopefully when you are done reading this article) to see which gluten-free foods I include in my diet along with medications.

How many of the listed symptoms have you experienced?

Oh My Gosh! I have had

  • All 31 symptoms on the list - (Suggestion: go make an appointment now!)
  • 15 or more symptoms on the list
  • 10 to 15 symptoms on the list
  • Up to 10 symptoms on the list
  • Absolutely NONE of the symptoms on the list, but I still think I might have it
  • I'm just an interested reader, I don't have Celiac Disease
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2. More episodes = the more likelihood of gluten intolerance

That's quite a list, isn't it?

The good news is: to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease, you are not required to have every one of the 30 plus symptoms on that list! In fact, there are some people who have very few symptoms or only experience symptoms once in a blue moon (probably because of something taboo they ate!).

However, the more frequently you experience "episodes" of symptoms, the chances are that you are most likely gluten intolerant (sensitive to gluten). Not all people with gluten intolerance have Celiac Disease, but Celiac Disease should certainly be a consideration to rule out or rule in. There is a whole panel of tests that are quite expensive and rather exhaustive to get a definitive diagnosis of Celiac Disease.

This article is meant to help you get a head start on recognizing symptoms and what your triggers are, so you can put a lot of legwork behind you and be that much closer to putting a name to your illness.

Read on some more ways on how to tell if you might have Celiac Disease.

3. Relatives

To help you in your investigation to see if you might have Celiac Disease, consider your family tree. Celiac Disease runs in families, so you are likely to have at least one relative one or two times removed from you who also has it.

One time removed from you would be a first degree relative - your immediate family: mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter. This would be anyone you share half (1/2) of your genes with.

Two times removed from you would be a second degree relative - aunt or uncle (sibling to your mother or father), niece or nephew (offspring of your siblings), grandparents, grandchildren, half-sister, half-brother. This would be anyone you share one quarter (1/4) of your genes with.

It is rare that a third degree relative would factor into this equation but for the sake of information, a third degree relative is anyone you share an eighth (1/8) of your genes with. This could be a first cousin (offspring of your aunt or uncle who is a sibling to one of your parents), a great-grandchild, or a great-grandparent.

Step-siblings, step-parents, second cousins, third cousins, etc. are too far removed from the gene pool to be considered for disease markers.

Latest numbers of people diagnosed with Celiac Disease

I found this graphic that claims to be the most current numbers, but I have to tell you I did not research this to see if it was correct.
I found this graphic that claims to be the most current numbers, but I have to tell you I did not research this to see if it was correct. | Source

4. Food Diary

As silly as it may seem, keeping a food diary is actually a good idea. Sometimes you can't remember what you had to eat a couple of days ago and now you are sick. Sometimes you just have to see foods written on paper to make the connection.

So keep a food diary. The one I like to offer is at this website. Print it out once, then make 30 copies. Fill out one for each day and date it with month, day, year and DAY of the week. You'd be surprise what the day of the week might mean in the grand scheme of things.

There's only one thing I want you to do in addition to filling in this food diary. There's no dedicated column to use, so just note in the margin the following info:

  • the day and time you had a bowel movement,
  • how many times you had a bowel movement that day
  • if the bowel movement was normal, soft, or diarrhea
  • if you had NO bowel movement that day
  • if you had pain, the location and for how long
  • and lastly, in the breakfast column, note how many hours of sleep you got the night before.

The reason to note this information is because you will not remember over the course of a month. By the end of 30 days, you will have a good idea:

  • what your food triggers are,
  • if your favorite restaurants you eat at often are a culprit (which probably will not be on your favorite places to eat anymore),
  • what combinations of foods are troublesome, and
  • which people you are eating with who might be a trigger.

The next photo shows you what a food diary looks like. It is just a sample size so don't print it out from there. Go to the link above and that will give you the full size sheet to print out.

This is what a daily food diary looks like

Print it out from the link I gave you because printing it out from this photo will not be full size.
Print it out from the link I gave you because printing it out from this photo will not be full size.

Food Triggers

I keep (or have kept) a food diary to track what triggers my symptoms

  • Yes
  • No
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Oral and Behavioral symptoms of Celiac Disease

Small list of Oral and Behavioral symptoms of Celiac Disease. See graphic at end of this hub
Small list of Oral and Behavioral symptoms of Celiac Disease. See graphic at end of this hub | Source

5. Bloodwork - Labs

I know the title of this hub is "How To Tell If You Might Have Celiac Disease Before You Go To A Doctor."

But if you just happen to go for routine bloodwork, or to have your cholesterol checked or if your doctor is looking to see how well a particular medication is working for you, you can get some good information by asking to have some extra lab studies included on the form.

Tip: ALWAYS ask for a copy of your lab results. Make two copies of each report to keep in a file at home in case you want to share them with another doctor. Waiting for your primary doctor to fax them to someone else can take a long time. If you present a copy to a new doctor, it eliminates the middleman. If a new doctor wants to make a copy of your report, NEVER give away your only copy. Always keep one for your records. Doctor's offices are notorious for not returning them to patients.

When the doctor is filling out the laboratory form, ask him to include a check mark next to:

CMP - Complete Metabolic Panel. To read what this test is for and what the results will tell you, I wrote three hubs, CMP Part One, CMP Part Two, and CMP Part Three - because it was too much info to include in one hub.

If your doctor will not order a CMP (or a BMP which is a Basic), ask for any of the following tests to be checked off on the form as a stand alone test:

Electrolyte Panel - if your electrolytes are out of whack, you can feel anything from dizziness or nausea to feeling like you are going to die. This test looks at electrolyte balance in the body

RBC - red blood cells (can indicate if you are bleeding anywhere in the body, for example hidden in the stools. Can also indicate fatigue, anemia, or the reason for an iron deficiency)

Iron - checking for iron deficiency. Often included with CMP but not always.

Vitamin B12 level - anemia, fatigue

Vitamin D and D3 level - can help in diagnosing autoimmune diseases.

T3, T4 and TSH - thyroid studies, detects changes in thyroid gland that might be due to weight loss, fatigue, often included with CMP but sometimes ordered separately.

If he asks why you want the tests done, tell him you are feeling out of kilter, tired, anemic, but don't ever tell him you feel depressed or are suffering from insomnia. That is not a good enough medical reason for asking for these tests, plus it will probably get you sent to a whole different kind of specialist! Too many patients are getting passed off to a shrink when their problem is medical, not mental.

If any of these tests come back not within normal range, it is more information to add to your consideration of Celiac Disease.

Results which are not within normal range means further testing is indicated.

Results within normal range is good, it means there are no red flags and your problems are likely due to something else.

FreeStyle Lite is a good choice and affordable

6. Blood sugar fluctuations

You can invest in a blood sugar testing kit, or ask your doctor to order one for you using your insurance. Sometimes doctors have free samples in their offices that they give to patients for free. It doesn't matter how you get one, just get one.

This will give you valuable information and help you to "rule out" or "rule in" a diagnosis of Celiac Disease by identifying if your symptoms are blood sugar related or gastrointestinal related. It is important to know the difference in order to get the right treatment.

Sometimes a low blood sugar can account for many of the symptoms on the above list: fatigue, depression, brain fog, confusion, sleeping problems, menstrual period changes, mouth sores, numbness in extremities, bad breath, fluctuations in weight, and craving certain foods - especially sweets and caffeine.

So as you did with the food diary, track your blood sugars by using the booklet that comes with the testing kit. Keep track for about two weeks, unless the numbers are so inconsistent, then keep track for a month. If your blood sugars run low (like under 80 for example), eat more often and sooner than the following meal schedule. If your blood sugar is consistently over 90, keep to the following eating schedule.

Try to test three times a day: when you get up in the morning before breakfast, before lunch and before dinner. Note the numbers next to each meal on your food diary: BS = ##.

So your fingers don't end up black and blue, ask for or buy a FreeStyle glucose monitor (see sidebar for Amazon link) or a similar kit that allows you to test either on fingers OR your forearm.

Wash your hands (or forearm) in "warm" water before you test - it will make the blood flow easier and get any sugary or foreign substances off your skin.

You don't need to use alcohol to swab as long as your skin is clean. Alcohol can raise the blood sugar numbers or make the numbers inconsistent, especially if you choose to use alcohol only once in a while.

Whichever place you choose to stick (fingers or forearms), do it the same each time (fingers or forearm) so the results will be comparing apples to apples. You can alternate forearms to stick, but if you start with finger sticking, stay with it as it is most accurate. Forearm sticks can sometimes fluctuate as much as 10 points compared to a finger stick.

If you have consistently low blood sugars, you can probably cure most of your symptoms with diet modification - eating six to seven small meals over the course of the day.

Eating more frequently in small portions is the remedy I suggest after diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Keeping food consistently in your body means it doesn't have the chance to start operating off your stored reserves.

The following video gives you some information on technique if you have never used a blood glucose machine and/or if you are not sure how to do it.

I take simethecone immediately before a meal to cut down on gas after the meal. Only softgels, no tablets.

Gluten free - one way, not the ONLY way to treat Celiac Disease

Gluten free is only one way to treat Celiac Disease, it is not the ONLY way to treat Celiac Disease! Modifications to your lifestyle and the times you eat meals can also help.
Gluten free is only one way to treat Celiac Disease, it is not the ONLY way to treat Celiac Disease! Modifications to your lifestyle and the times you eat meals can also help. | Source

7. Altering Meal Times and Portion Sizes

The last area to consider in your quest to tell if you might be a candidate for Celiac Disease is diet. This modified diet will alter your eating times, the amount of food you eat at each sitting, and how and with whom you eat it.

If you think you will be going to a doctor soon to be tested for Celiac Disease or if you are already on a schedule to be tested for Celiac Disease, do not start this modification since it will alter your test results.

If this experiment takes care of all, or most of your symptoms, you probably do NOT have Celiac Disease.

How does changing meal times and portion sizes figure into the symptoms of Celiac Disease? Look over the symptom list. Any one of the symptoms could be from:

  • stress (possibly an eating partner or crunch for time),
  • lack of food in the body (it's hungry!)
  • too long between meals (meal times need to be adjusted)
  • eating the wrong foods (sugary, caffeine, soda products) at the wrong time of day (causes fatigue, bloating, gas)
  • eating large portions at one sitting (can cause gas because the body is getting too much food at one time)
  • skipping meals (because of time crunch, or if you feel sick or tired)
  • fatigue (possibly due to not having eaten in a few hours)
  • low blood sugar (because meals are not scheduled well).

You get the idea how symptoms can mimic other things. Humor me and give this a try. You have nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

For this diet modification, you don't want to cut out gluten at this point, unless you have already started eliminating gluten foods from your diet. You want to keep eating what you normally eat to get an idea if your foods are a trigger or if your eating times and volume are a trigger. It is important to know if your symptoms could be your body telling you that it is not getting enough food spread out over the course of the day. The way you eat - HOW - could be the reason for some of your symptoms.

If after a week or so on this plan, you still have symptoms of bloating or pain followed by gas and/or diarrhea, take a look at how fast you are eating and then slow it down. Look at the portion size on your fork or spoon. If you eat large forkfuls or spoonfuls, start cutting food up smaller as if you were feeding someone with swallowing problems, or as you would for a toddler. If you continue to eat large forkfuls, your symptoms will probably stay the same or only you'll only notice a small improvement.

If you are used to getting through the day with small or non-existent meals (snacking out), so you can eat large dinners and/or second helpings, then the following mealtime and menu modification may be the answer to your symptoms.

So this requires some meal planning (food shopping) on your part, but it is not hard to do. Remember, do not cut out gluten. Eat the same foods you normally eat, just smaller portions on the plate and on your fork, and eat more often as per this schedule (or as close as you can get).

Get up in the morning (whatever passes for morning in your world) - test blood sugar. Write it down in BS booklet and on food diary sheet.

Then,

Eat breakfast right away. If you don't eat breakfast, START! Your body went all night without food. Now without breakfast, it is using stored energy to get through the day until your next meal. Try to eat at least 350 to 400 calories.

About two hours later, eat a small snack - normal food or what is normal for you. (4 oz fluid and some peanut butter crackers, or a container of yogurt, something small not to exceed 4 oz in volume). Up to about 200-250 calories.

Two hours later -Test blood sugar, write it down, then eat lunch - whatever you normally eat for lunch. If you don't eat lunch, START! Already part of your problem is it's too long between breakfast and dinner. Consume about 500 to 600 calories for lunch

After lunch - two hours later, a small snack (same guidelines as above) not to exceed 4 ounces in volume. Up to about 200-250 calories.

Two hours later - Test blood sugar, write it down, then eat dinner - whatever foods you normally eat for dinner. Try to stay around 750 to 800 calories.

Two hours before bedtime (when you are still up and moving around, not in bed reading or watching TV), eat a small snack not to exceed 4 ounces. Up to about 200-250 calories. Stop drinking fluids after this snack.

Before you turn out the light to go to sleep, empty your bladder. Always make this the last thing to do before going to sleep. This helps with insomnia and getting more restful sleep by not having to get up as often to urinate.

***********************

This puts your calorie intake between 2200 and 2500 calories for the day. If you spread the calories out over the day, your body will behave differently than if, for example, you had a 1000 calorie lunch, a 1500 calorie dinner, and no breakfast.

If you get hungry an hour after lunch or dinner, eat your snack earlier that day, then increase your lunch and dinner calories by 100 to 150 calories. The idea is you never want to be hungry throughout the day. If you are hungry, eat!

Tip: Do not talk and eat at the same time. If more air goes in with your food, more air stays in your body and causes pain and bloating.

Tip: Never eat a meal without a beverage. Drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. If you have bouts of diarrhea or start to feel lightheaded between meals/snacks, you are probably dehydrated no matter how much water you drank. So keep Gatorade on hand. It is great to keep the electrolytes in balance.

The trick to this diet is: Eat small portions, eat slower but eat more often. If you have a lot of food going in at one time, it makes your digestive system work harder to digest the food, causing gas and bloating. Less food in at one time and taking your time to eat it makes your body digest slower, giving you more energy for longer periods and cuts down the incorporation of gas and bloating.

Longer periods between meals makes you gassy because your body is using digestive juices (enzymes) to keep it fueled.

Shorter times between meals eliminates that process by giving the body fuel.

Here's a graphic with a complete list of possible Celiac Disease Symptoms

You don't have to have all the symptoms to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
You don't have to have all the symptoms to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease. | Source

Final word from awordlover

Not everyone who finds themselves gluten intolerant will get a diagnosis of Celiac Disease. It just means they are just intolerant (or sensitive) to eating products containing gluten. Click the link to read more about non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

Tip: If you are in the habit of eating prepared foods - anything that comes in a package that has to be prepared to end up looking like the picture on the front of the box - take note that the list of ingredients has many additives, most of which are not good for you. If you can't pronounce an ingredient or don't know what it is, don't eat it.

Tip: If you are in the habit of eating frozen dinner meals - like Lean Cuisine, Stouffers dinners, etc - again, note the ingredients on the box. There are many preservatives and additives included in the food to make it look good and taste good, but aren't necessarily good for you.

Once it is determined that you are gluten intolerant, the only proven treatments are to follow a gluten-free diet, change your eating patterns by making sure you eat smaller portions but more often so you don't have long periods between your meals, to be vigilant of products in which gluten can be found and to make changes to your lifestyle (altering or eliminating the people, places or things in your life) if needed. Stress plays a factor, but it is not a primary factor.

Tip: Whether you cheat on or follow a gluten-free diet, if you still end up uncomfortable with gas or bloating, get used to buying simethecone and similar products to alleviate the symptoms. Some of the brand names are Gas-X, Phazyme, and Walmart's brand Equate (which is featured in the Amazon link in the sidebar). Buy these in bulk. Sam's Club and other membership stores offer it in 300 tablet size for a good price, and you can buy it there. I am an online shopper so I buy Walmart's Equate brand from Amazon because it is a good price and more convenient than going into the store.

Tip: If you have more than one day of diarrhea, and the next day doesn't look much better, Imodium AD (or the generic which is loperamide) will become your best friend. I buy it online in the 350 tablet size for about $8.50 and it lasts me 6 to 9 months. I don't usually buy it in any larger quantities because the pill gets sort of powdery after so long. I buy what I'll use within 6 to 9 months. To get an idea of how much loperamide you'll need, if any, buy small size packages or blister packs from your pharmacy or Walmart. Generic is cheaper and it is the exact same ingredient. Once you see how much you are using, then you can better gauge what size to start purchasing to keep on hand.

These two over-the-counter medications can keep you comfortable without having to get a prescription, so I highly recommend them for everyday use (even though the label says not for everyday use). Anyone with bloating, gas, and/or diarrhea problems can't really live without them. They will be your life-saver.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, but many people with Celiac Disease, Crohn's Disease, IBS and other diseases of the digestive tract cannot tolerate corn, oats, oatmeal or enriched flours. If a package says "modified food starch," "modified corn starch," or "enriched wheat flour" on it, it's gonna hurt you!

Gluten is also hidden as preservatives, stabilizers and fillers for food and medications. If you frequently take medications that come in capsules, these often have fillers that are not gluten-free and can disturb the digestive tract. These additives keep the medication from spoiling and keep the capsule from breaking down (disintegrating). For people who are really sensitive, it doesn't take much to set off their symptoms

In addition to some capsule medications, additives are always added to buffered medications (pills) so they keep their pill shape and don't crumble. Sometimes the additives are sugar-based, and sometimes they are starch-based. A starch-based additive usually is gluten. Ask the pharmacist put it on your record at the pharmacy that you are requesting gluten-free medications.

Please read the labels on your vitamins, medicines and over-the-counter pharmacy items like lip balms and liquid cold remedies to see what the label says is added to prevent spoilage. It is often a gluten antagonist. For any pill that is enteric coated, read to see if it is sugar based or starch based. For a list of binding materials (additives) that are used in medications as fillers or coatings, click here.

One of the few starches that will not hurt me is rice starch (flour). Some people swear by soy, but not everyone has good results with soy since it can disturb bowel habits.

And finally, we get to the cost of adopting a gluten-free lifestyle.

As with anything that is in demand, gluten-free foods are not cheap. Because these companies know they have the market cornered for their products, most of the merchants and websites are committing downright highway robbery with their charges. I have no recommendations for a supplier of good economical gluten-free products. I make everything from scratch so I don't have to buy from these places. I've been doing it for over 40 years - probably long before these companies were in business. (I have been eating gluten-free since 1967).

To eat totally gluten free is gonna cost you in your lifestyle changes, diet changes, and in the actual monetary outlay - both in the buying of the food or the ingredients to make your meals.

You not only have to read all your food labels to make sure they are truly gluten-free, but also you'll have to watch all your condiments (salad dressing, etc.) and beverages (soy milk, wheat germ added to store made smoothies etc.). Here is a link to clue you in on the cost of eating gluten-free. Links from that website will give you more websites to explore.

If you have found any of this information useful or if you want to share your story, please leave a comment.

I wish you well in your journey to get well, and to stay well.

Do Not Copy, Thank You

Thank you for not copying my work.
Thank you for not copying my work. | Source

Thank you for reading and I welcome your comments.

© Anne DiGeorge, as awordlover April 2013

Updated 4/1/2014 by Rachael O'Halloran

© 2014 awordlover

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8 comments

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I had did read about Celiac Disease but your hub showed me so much more and in such detail the list of symptoms are far too many and to cope with sounds too much. Very interesting and informative.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

This was very helpful information, especially the food diary resource you provided and the comprehensive symptom list.


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awordlover 2 years ago Author

#DDE, the detail awordlover put into this hub is phenomenal. She had Celiac Disease which later became Crohn's Disease. As long as I have known her, she followed the same gluten-free diet, making her own foods from scratch because the food suppliers were ridiculous in prices and selection. She speaks from experience.

As she said in the article, the list of symptoms she included was not a list of symptoms that everyone had, it was a list that anyone would be able to relate to and pick out which might apply to them. Dealing with Celiac and any chronic disease is "too much" especially for the person living with it. Thank you for reading and for your comment.

Rachael


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awordlover 2 years ago Author

#FlourishAnyway - The food diary was so great that I went into her other hubs where she put links to a food diary and changed the links to point to that one. The blocks are big enough to write more info on and keep better records.

The symptom list is more of a list for readers to see how many they can relate to - not a list where they must have every symptom on the list. I guess awordlover's wording wasn't clear and I should go in and put a statement that it is a list which a reader might possibly have some but not all of these symptoms.

I'm still trying to learn how to present the information she left in her notes and not lose the underlying message she wanted to convey.

Thank you for reading and for your comment.

Rachael


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innerspin 2 years ago from uk

Goodness, I had no idea such wide ranging symptoms were involved. A very informative and comprehensive hub, raising awareness of this debilitating condition.


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awordlover 2 years ago Author

#innerspin - It is a most baffling disease to those who have it. Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment.

Rachael


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I didn't realize Celiac disease had so many symptoms and triggers. I feel sorry for those who may suffer from it. I'm sure this article will help many to understand the cause and how to overcome the battles.


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awordlover 2 years ago Author

#teaches12345 - Celiac Disease looks like so many others that is why it is hard to diagnose. Maybe if doctors started looking at it to consider first, more patients would get the care and treatment they need much sooner. Thank you for reading and for your comment.

Rachael

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