WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease. It creates a problem for individuals to ingest and digest gluten leading to damage in the small intestine.
Celiac disease has always been rare but more and more people are being diagnosed these days. If left untreated, it can be very damaging to the intestines and cause problems later in life.
When diagnosed with Celiac disease, individuals are likely to gain other autoimmune disorders. It is critical to eat a gluten-free diet when being diagnosed to avoid those problems that could occur in the future.
IF I AM HAVING STOMACH ISSUES, WHAT SPECIAL DOCTOR SHOULD I GO SEE?
It is first important to go to your primary care doctor to make sure you need a second doctor for these issues you are having. Almost always, if there is a significant problem, your primary care doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist.
A gastroenterologist is made to study and treat functions and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.
They measure and study through several tests. For Celiac disease, individuals most likely will routinely get endoscopies and colonoscopies. As these procedures sound scary, they are quite easy and very helpful in hopes to find your diagnosis.
GUIDES TO GLUTEN-FREE LIVING:
+ Schar's guide to gluten-free living
+ A beginner's guide to gluten-free
There are many other professional resources to help with a gluten-free diet, just do your research. These are some of my favorites!
CAN I HAVE A GLUTEN SENSITIVITY WITHOUT HAVING CELIACS?
Yes, some individuals only have a light sensitivity to gluten and do not need to change their whole diet around. I challenge you, if you are having issues with gluten, go completely without it for two weeks and see if you feel any better.
Those who have gluten sensitivities still feel the effects of being glutened but it will not damage them intestinally.
Some individuals may be diagnosed with gluten intolerance, where again individuals will experience celiac symptoms but are much less severe. Their immune systems still overreact to the food or drink that has been ingested but most likely will not cause future problems or damage to the intestine.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF BEING "GLUTENED"?
Symptoms can be as harsh or little depending on the allergy or intolerance that you have. Every gluten sensitivity + allergy causes similar symptoms, which is why it is good to be properly diagnosed, so you can treat it correctly.
Symptoms include but not limited to:
- diarrhea + constipation
- abdominal pain
- skin problems
- unexplained weight loss
- brain fog
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:
- Read labels are thorough as you can. Gluten may be listed or hidden behind another word.
- If you get "glutened", make sure you drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to make this better---you just have to ride it out. For me, it usually lasts about 3-4 days before I am feeling okay again.
- When being diagnosed with a gluten problem, you may notice sensitivity to other foods such as dairy and eggs, you may have to eliminate these food groups for a certain amount of time or for good to continue to feel better.