Type 1 Diabetics should be screened for celiac disease

Posted on July 14th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, News & Research, Symptoms | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

type-1-diabetes1This is important! All type 1 diabetic patients, regardless of the presence of symptoms, should be regularly screened for celiac disease. This was the message at The Endocrine Society 92nd Annual Meeting, based on findings in a new study of Type 1 diabetics.

I’ll break down the numbers for you, as I understand them:

  • 493 patients were screened for celiac disease within roughly 3 months of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
  • 25 of these patients had positive celiac blood tests on their initial screening. Of those who tested negative the first time around, 14 tested positive the second time, making the total number of patients with a positive blood test 39, or 8% of those screened.
  • Of the patients who tested positive on the blood test, 12 had positive biopsies (one showed a positive biopsy 5 years after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.) 7 have not been biopsied.

Now, these numbers are compelling, but I still believe the number of those with a gluten problem is higher. We know that the tests for celiac miss people. A lot of people. I wonder if the gluten intolerance or sensitivity, undetected by mainstream tests, contributed to the onset of  diabetes. The diabetes gets noticed first, because doctors understand it, are aware of it, know how to diagnose it, and to treat it, but perhaps it is another symptom of gluten wreaking havoc on the body.

Having diabetes is hard. Having celiac is hard. Having them both — well, I can’t speak from personal experience, but I imagine it is doubly hard. I can also imagine that someone with type 1 diabetes or a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes would not want to think about having celiac too. But I hope that my urging to pay attention to gluten will get someone’s attention out there.

Undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten intolerance can lead to very serious problems. As stated in an article about the study, “Undiagnosed celiac disease might cause significant morbidity… Short-term complications include growth disturbances, weight loss, and difficulty achieving glycemic control in type 1 diabetics. Long-term complications can include small bowel malignancy.” And these are just a few of the many symptoms and associated conditions related to celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

To read articles about the study, go to the Global Diabetes Community or to Medscape.com (sign up for a free account).

Does anyone have a personal story about gluten and diabetes?


Adventures in Food Allergy Testing (Part 2: the Results)

Posted on June 23rd, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Egg Allergy, Food Allergies, Symptoms | Read 20 Comments - Add Your Own »

oneeggWell, we did it today. We did the egg challenge. The way it turned out was not at all what I expected. I documented the whole thing as it was happening, not knowing what the outcome would be as I scribbled my notes.

I brought my daughter in to the doctor at 9:15, one scrambled egg in tote (to find out why I decided to have her do an egg challenge, please read Adventures in Food Allergy Testing Part 1). I was also armed with ketchup, salt, some bread (egg-free) and some turkey, just in case she didn’t like the egg and I had to doctor it up. The taste of the egg wasn’t a problem at all. Here’s how the rest of the egg challenge went down:

9:25 am: She eats a tiny amount of egg. “Yummy,” she says and the doctor says, “She likes it — that’s good.” I am surprised she likes it so much.

9:35 am: Doctor comes in and examines her throat, face, skin and breath. There is no reaction. He says to eat a larger amount, so she eats about a teaspoonful. After a few minutes she says her ears itch inside a little and her tummy hurts a teeny, tiny bit. But after another few minutes, she doesn’t seem to be having any problem and continues to watch the movie on the DVD player I brought. She is even singing with the movie. 15 minutes later she says her tummy hurts again, but then she gets a drink of water and says she is fine.

10:00 am: Doctor checks her again, sees no sign of reaction and says she can eat 3 bites of egg. She again says “It’s yummy.” The doctor says again that the fact she likes it is a good sign.

10:25 am: Doctor checks her again. So far, so good. Now I am starting to get a little excited, thinking we are in the clear. She is excited too, but I tell her that we are not done and that she gets to eat the rest of the egg now. She doesn’t really want to, but she is motivated by the possibility of getting to eat eggs in the future. She takes a few bites and then says that her tummy hurts. She finishes the egg at 10:35.

10:45 am: She scratches her chin and I see that there is a little hive there. She is using her upper teeth to scratch her lower lip, where I see another hive and she is simultaneously scratching her lower arm where there is another hive. I go get the doctor. He checks her throat and says it is okay. She is feeling more and more itchy and uncomfortable. He gives her allergy medication (Zirtec) and wants to give her an adrenaline shot. I look at him wide-eyed — really? A shot of epinephrine? Is that necessary? I don’t want to freak her out and he says okay, we can wait and see and gives her an asthma pill just in case. By now, her eyes are really red and itching like crazy. Her tummy is hurting, she’s feeling awful and starts crying, “I want to go home!” As she is deteriorating before our eyes, the doctor says she needs the shot to reverse the symptoms more quickly. The nurse gives her a small dose (.5mg) of epinephrine in her arm. The regular epinephrine shot, most commonly known as the Epi-Pen, is .15mg and is administered in the thigh muscle for the fastest absorption into the body. When given in the subcutaneous fat level of the arm, it is absorbed more slowly. The doctor felt that this was all she would need. Nope.

11:10 am: She is lying down, feeling a little better. Her eyes are still itching like crazy, but she refuses to try eye drops to relieve them. She is really congested and begins to cough. The doctor checks her and finds that she has swelling in the right side of her throat. The coughing is a sign that her airways are being affected. The doctor orders another adrenaline shot, this time .1mg. I ask if this is a considered an anaphylactic reaction. The answer is yes, and this is why you do food challenges in the doctor’s office. No eggs for her, in any way, shape or form. I am feeling shocked. I thought she might have a rash today at most.

11:35 am: She is a little hyper from the adrenaline and feeling better. The doctor warned me that she might get pale lips from the epinephrine. Yes, her lips are looking pale.

11:50 am: I am reading a book to my daughter who is sitting on my lap when the doctor comes in for another check. “Flushed,” he says. I turn her around and my eyes must have bugged out of my head. Her face, chest and back are flushed so red she looks like she has a really bad sunburn. She also has a few hives on her back. “I think her reaction would have been much worse without the medication,” says the doctor. He checks her heart rate and it is okay, but because she is so flushed, he orders a third shot of epinephrine, this time .5mg. The red is traveling slowly down her body, and eventually reaches her legs, which eventually also look sunburned. She is cold, so they bring her a blanket. She is feeling much better and is in good spirits, but we have to stay another hour.

1:00 pm: After a few more checkups, the doctor determines that nothing is progressing any further and that we can go. She is still really red, but other than that, she is okay. She wouldn’t resume her normal color for another hour.

Before we left the doctor’s office, I confirmed with him that had this happened out in the world, I should have given her the Epi-Pen. Absolutely. “And even if you aren’t sure, just give it.”

So many thoughts have been swirling in my head since this experience. The first is, I can’t believe I didn’t cry. I was quite unemotional and I’m not sure why — maybe I was in shock? Or maybe because I felt like I was part of a science experiment. Or was it because I was playing it cool for my daughter’s sake so she wouldn’t freak out? It is sad news: my daughter had an anaphylactic reaction to an egg. So… we will continue to avoid egg, but be even more careful about it.

Another thought: Did I have false hope? With the 50% chance given by my doctor, I figured it was worth the gamble to try the egg. If we could have added it back into her diet, it would have been like winning a jackpot.

The most important realization of all: THIS IS REAL. FOOD ALLERGIES ARE REAL. Dare I say that part of me has at times wondered if she really was allergic to all these foods, that maybe the tests are overdiagnosing as several past news articles and editorial pieces have suggested, that maybe her tests weren’t accurate, that since we’ve never had to use the Epi-Pen, maybe we wouldn’t really need to. Even though this day did not bring me the happy results I wanted, it did bring me clarity. It brought me resolve to stay vigilant in protecting my daughter. It brought me confirmation that we need to continue to raise awareness about food allergies. After what I saw happen right in front of me today, I know for sure that they are real.

Related reading: Diary of a gluten poisoning


Diary of a gluten poisoning

Posted on May 27th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Symptoms | Read 18 Comments - Add Your Own »

blueberrymuffinTuesday, May 25, 2010

9:15 am: I drive to muffin bakery to buy gluten-free muffin a few people told me they saw there.

9:20 am: I enter bakery and ask for gluten-free muffin. There are none in the case that is full of regular muffins. Guy behind counter goes to check in back. I see him ask someone something and then take a blueberry muffin off of a rack. He hands it to me. I ask, “You’re sure this is gluten-free?” He replies, “Oh yeah, we have a totally separate gluten-free mix.” I hesitate, thinking I should ask about cross-contamination, but don’t. (Mistake.)

9:25 am: I eat muffin while driving to San Francisco. It’s not very good. I don’t eat it all.

10:00 am: I begin consulting session at Whole Foods in San Francisco (a child has just been diagnosed with gluten, dairy and egg allergy and the family needs help.)

11:30 am: I am burping and starting to feel a little weak. I pretend to the client that I am fine.

11:40 am: I am nauseous. I open a bag of Rice Thins and eat a little bit of one. It doesn’t help. Now I tell the client that I am not feeling well and explain that I think I ate some gluten. (She didn’t know the  lesson would include seeing first-hand what can happen if one eats gluten!)

11:55 pm: I am walking as fast as I can to the Whole Foods bathroom. I get there. I vomit several times. I feel a little better. I have other gastrointestinal things going on too.

12:05 pm: I emerge from bathroom looking like hell I’m sure. I find client, apologize and pretend that I am now fine. We finish consulting session (thank god it was time to be over anyway) even though it is difficult for me to even talk as I am still nauseous.

12:20 pm: I am driving through Pacific Heights in San Francisco — huge mansions all around. I spin the car into a parking space, throw open the door and vomit into the street. Lovely.

12:30 pm: I am driving over the Golden Gate Bridge to go home, hoping I can make it across without throwing up — there is nowhere to pull over on the bridge. Deep breaths, air-conditioning on full blast, thinking happy, do-not-puke thoughts.

12:50 pm: I don’t make it home in time. Close, but I have to make an illegal turn to whip my car into a bank parking lot where I can vomit in the bushes.

1:00 pm: I am home. I have major gastrointestinal distress. I am weak. My arm and leg muscles are cramping. I crawl into bed.

2:15 pm: I want to stay in bed, but I have to pick up my girls from school. I can barely make it down my stairs, sliding down on my bottom. My body feels like jelly and is a little tingly. I sit on the stairs. I lay on the stairs. I force myself to the bathroom. More gastrointestinal stress. I am a little better.

2:50 pm: I go back into the bakery that sold me the muffin. I ask, “Is it possible that you gave me the wrong muffin this morning?” and I tell the guy what happened. Wide-eyed, he calls over someone in charge and he reassures me that it was a gluten-free muffin. I ask about cross-contamination (as I should have done in the beginning), and he tells me that they use the same trays as the regular muffins. “We can’t prevent cross-contamination,” he tell me. “No,” I think, “You won’t.” But I don’t have the energy to engage in that conversation right now.

3:00 pm: It’s over. I am weak, but no more nausea or other symptoms.

4:00 pm: I am able to eat. My energy is picking up. I am feeling almost normal but for the waves of weakness in my legs that continue throughout the evening.

I continue to to be amazed at the violent reaction I had, the worst I have ever had since being gluten-free over 7 years. How much gluten did I consume — a few crumbs leftover in the tray from another batch of muffins? I will never know.


Bitter taste in your mouth? Could be pine nuts!

Posted on April 19th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Healthy Living, News & Research, Symptoms | Read 17 Comments - Add Your Own »

pinenutsChalk this one up to Weird Food Reactions that your doctor doesn’t know about…

I went out the other night with some girlfriends and as we were deciding what to order, one of them complained to me that everything she has been eating for three days tastes bitter and leaves a metallic aftertaste. Worried that this was a sign of a health problem, she had emailed her doctor who recommended she check with her dentist first. The doctor also suggested that perhaps the bitter taste was a result of her body detoxing because she had started a gluten, dairy and sugar-free diet. (huh? makes no sense to me.)

This is where I come in:
“Did you eat pine nuts?” I asked her.
“Yes… why??”
“It’s the pine nuts.”
“What? The pine nuts? Yes, well, I did have a lot of pine nuts a couple of days ago. It’s the pine nuts?”
“Yep.”
HOW do you know that?”
“Because it happened to me.”

About two years ago I experienced the same thing. I suddenly had a bitter taste in my mouth whenever I ate something. Didn’t matter what it was — something sweet or sour, fruit, vegetables, wine or chips. Every single thing I ate tasted bitter. After it went on for a few days, I feared that this was some permanent condition and I would never enjoy eating food again! I finally turned to Google and found a forum of people discussing the bitter taste and they all realized that they had eaten pine nuts in the days prior to the bitter taste starting. I was surprised to find the cause, as were all the people in the online forum — and I was relieved! It lasted a week, and was really annoying, but at least I knew it would go away. And I didn’t pay to see any specialists!

I’m not sure if I have eaten any pine nuts since then. We don’t have any nuts in our house due to my daughter’s nut allergy, and I don’t remember if I have eaten them out at a restaurant. I had sort of forgotten about this until hearing my friend’s story, and wondered how common this really is. Back to Google again to find out more…

It turns out that quite a few people have written about “Pine Mouth,” as they began calling it, since my first query years ago. A search of the medical journals turned up a 2010 article in the Journal of Medical Toxicology that concluded: “‘Pine mouth’ appears to be an emerging problem.”

The symptoms generally come on 2 days after ingesting the pine nuts, and can last up to 2 weeks! Though there has been no formal connection made, it seems that the people who were affected by pine mouth ate pine nuts that were imported from China. The China Tree Nut Association even held a national pine nut conference on November 24th, 2009, to try to find out where the bitter taste comes from!

Trader Joe’s and Costco brands were mentioned often in the forums that I read. No conclusion has been made as to WHY this happens and whether some people are affected by it, while others aren’t.

So, if you’re pining for pine nuts, be aware that you might just be left with a bitter taste in your mouth!


Osteoporosis drug could make bones break

Posted on March 8th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Healthy Living, Symptoms | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

fosamaxThe osteoporosis drug Fosomax which is supposed to strengthen bones may in fact cause spontaneous fractures, with many women’s femurs actually snapping, according to a report on ABC news. One doctor explains the problem: “When [women] are on it for five, six, seven or eight years, they lost their ability to remodel and regenerate their skeleton,”… and so the women “are very vulnerable and they will then develop problems of brittle bone.” The drug has also been linked to osteonecrosis of the jaw, a bone disease known as “Dead Jaw.”

I found this report so disturbing! And then I read the comments below the article on the ABC News website… all these people talking about their broken femurs! I can’t believe this drug is on the market.

Another thought I have is: how many of the people being prescribed medication have been tested for celiac disease? In my opinion, this is another example of doctors treating a symptom with medication without looking for the cause. People with celiac disease are at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis or osteopenia — in fact, it is a very common symptom. If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, please go get tested for celiac disease! Even women without any known bone issues have been prescribed the drug. If you are taking Fosomax (alendronate sodium), please check with your doctor about the risks that may be associated with this drug!

To read the original article, go to ABC News. Don’t forget to read the comments.


Can a gluten-free diet help sports performance?

Posted on February 25th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Gluten Intolerance, Healthy Living, Symptoms | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

Winning Without Wheat: How a gluten-free diet powers one of the best cycling teams in the world — and how it can help you perform better and recover faster.”

This is the title of this month’s Men’s Journal Magazine report on a professional cycling team that was advised by their team doctor to cut out the gluten during the racing season. The results? Improved performance all around.

A couple of quotes from team members, as reported in the article:
“I just had all-around better digestion, and digestion is the biggest thing in utilizing the energy I consume.”
“My performance really improved a lot — there was definitely a correlation.”

runner1Would being gluten-free help every athlete’s physical performance? It depends on who you ask. There are mainstream celiac-focused doctors who say that there is no evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet helps those who do not suffer from celiac disease. However, there are other doctors and diet specialists who are now realizing the far-reaching effects of gluten, not just on those with biopsy-proven celiac disease. Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity may affect much more of the population than anyone currently knows, or that any studies currently show. And there is still another thought that wheat is simply difficult to digest for any human being. So, bad tummy = poor performance.

My own athletic performance was certainly affected in the years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. An avid runner, volleyball player and skiier, I experienced physical challenges. Exercise-induced asthma, aching knees and leg cramps forced me to stop in the middle of my runs. Temporary blindness like whiteouts halted me at the top of ski runs, and again those painful leg cramps inside my ski boots practically made my cry. Playing volleyball with digestive problems certainly didn’t help me soar to new heights! Since being gluten-free, I am a better athlete physically. No more asthma, leg cramps, joint pain or bad stomach to hold me back. (So what’s my excuse going to be now??)

The question that really remains is: how many people out there are sensitive or intolerant to gluten? If the number is high (as I believe it to be), then it makes sense that many athletes would experience benefits from a gluten-free diet.


Ask the Doc: Can mouth symptoms be caused by gluten?

Posted on February 20th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Ask the Doc, Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Symptoms | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

questionmarkgreen1.jpg Q. Could symptoms labeled as Burning Mouth Syndrome be caused by gluten intolerance?  These symptoms have been constant for 5 2/3 years and include pain in roof of mouth, tongue, cheeks and under the tongue at all times except when eating. Additionally during the night I have pain above the roof of the mouth and into one ear and down the throat.

I have had nightly GERD for 8 years that doesn’t respond to any medications,  thyroiditis and nodules and increased vascularity in the thyroid, sometimes a fine tremor in my hands, and involuntary movement of my tongue and extremities. I also have had post nasal drip and phlegm for 25+ years which doesn’t respond to any medication nor was it improved by surgery to correct a deviated septum (which my doctor said left me with “perfect sinuses”.)

I know the thyroid symptoms may improve if gluten-free but are any of the other symptoms likely to be improved?

A. Sores or aphthous ulcers and taste disorders are common in celiac disease, as is reflux esophagitis, and thyroiditis.  You must get tested for celiac disease, and you must have a thorough investigation into your reflux, with endoscopy biopsy and manometry studies.You may contact my office at www.gut-check.com.

Health and happiness,
Dr. Aron

Have a question for the doc?


Celiac Disease is associated with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Posted on September 7th, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, News & Research, Symptoms | Read 5 Comments - Add Your Own »

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about a small study that connected Restless Legs Syndrome with Celiac Disease. A new larger study, that will be published in the medical journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, confirms that screening for celiac disease and implementing a gluten-free diet can help many people suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome.

Here is the study in brief:

PURPOSE: Celiac disease may be associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS) because of an association with iron deficiency. Often, RLS negatively affects quality of life but may remain undiagnosed. This study evaluated the association between celiac disease and RLS.

RESULTS: The incidence of RLS among 85 patients with celiac disease was 35%, with a prevalence of 25% compared with 10% of spouses (P < 0.02). In 79% of patients with RLS and celiac disease, neuromuscular symptoms began during or after onset of gastrointestinal symptoms. Iron deficiency was present in 40% of celiac patients with active RLS compared with 6% of patients without RLS (P < 0.001). After 6 months of a gluten-free diet, RLS symptoms improved in 50% of 28 patients.

CONCLUSION: Screening for celiac disease in patients with RLS is important since this commonly overlooked silent disease may be a correctable factor for some patients with idiopathic RLS.


Share the gluten-free love

Posted on May 27th, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Emotions, Gluten Intolerance, Symptoms | Read 10 Comments - Add Your Own »

Graffiti Love by Tara Himler
Original painting by Tara Himler

I want to share a correspondence I recently had with a woman named Chanel in Atlanta, Georgia. It really touched me and also brought to my attention a problem that doesn’t get talked about — in fact, it is practically ignored in the celiac community. Chanel has given me permission to use both her story and name because she hopes that others will relate to her story.

Here is the first email I received:

May 7, 2009
“I have read your story and the info on your site. I just want to say, thank you so much for sharing your story and all the helpful information you have made available to the public. My symptoms sound exactly like yours, right down to the vitiligo. I am 26 now and I began having horrible stomach pain when I turned 21. The pain literally started on my birthday. I had symptoms which my doctor diagnosed as IBS aggravated by stress (this was not good news considering I had a very high stress job at the time). He told me there was nothing he could do for me. He said all I could do is try to get my stress level under control, eat more fiber and hope for the best. It was like my concerns were just brushed aside and forgotten. Like my pain didn’t matter to anyone but me. It seemed so unfair.

That summer I took up meditation in an attempt to get my obsessive compulsive behavior and stress under control. So I sat in the sunshine practicing my deep breathing techniques. This helped a little with the stress… until I started getting spots! As my shoulders began to tan I realized there were spots of my skin that wouldn’t. This fact was not conducive to my stress levels. I lost a lot of weight because the pain was so bad I just couldn’t eat! People thought I had an eating disorder because I was already thin to begin with. Finally the pain and stress was so bad that I had to quit my job.

I tried diets, I tried cutting out dairy, I tried exercise programs (which wouldn’t work because the pain would prevent me from exercising), I tried going back to doctors, I tried food combining, dietitians and books and supplements and everything under the sun!! Nothing worked!! Finally I saw the book, G-Free diet and found your review. I then went to your site and read pretty much everything there. I will be scheduling an appointment to be tested for gluten allergy and Celiac Disease. I have already started the “G-free diet” and have been G-free for about 3 days. I hope this is the answer because I can already tell a difference. I don’t know how long it took for you, but my pain level has already decreased. After 5 years of pain, discomfort, stress and tears, I finally have some hope… Thank You, Thank You, Thank You….”

What a wonderful feeling to get an email like that! After I wiped tears from my eyes, I realized that I should let her know that if she is going to get tested for celiac disease she should NOT be on a gluten-free diet before getting tested because it can produce a false negative result. I asked her if she had insurance and suggested that she get the test for celiac disease right away before she continues with the gluten-free diet. Her reply:

May 8, 2009
“No I do not have insurance. Unfortunately when I left my job for one less stressful, I also left my benefits behind. I am also about to go back to school. I start May 19, so you can imagine how difficult the idea is for me to start eating gluten again. If that is what is causing my problems, I definitely do not want to cause pain that could pull me out of class. For the time being, I plan on staying gluten-free until I can afford to go back to the doctor. I wish I could go tomorrow just to have a definitive answer but for now, I am on the 4th day of being gluten free and so far the pain has decreased every day. I couldn’t believe how good I felt this morning! My boyfriend says it is just good to see me smile again. Thanks!”

When I emailed her a week later to see how she was feeling she replied:

May 17
“I am still G-free and I am still smiling!”

I know how she feels. I know EXACTLY how she feels. When I first read about celiac disease, I knew I had found the answer and went gluten-free that very minute. I called my doctor’s office and told them that I wanted to be tested. The doctor called me back to tell me not to stop eating gluten yet. At that point I had already been gluten-free for a few days, and like Chanel, already felt better, and knew that I never wanted to eat gluten again. I was lucky that a) I had medical insurance, and b) I was able to see my doctor right away and get the tests, because if those two things hadn’t happened, I’m not sure I would have ever tested positive for celiac disease. I was not about to eat gluten again — it simply hurt too much.

I always tell people they should get the celiac blood test, but clearly there are cases where this is difficult for the person financially. My cousin ended up paying $500 out of pocket for the celiac panel for her daughter (which turned out to be negative despite her many health problems). I have received many emails from people without insurance asking for help because they are sick and want to try the diet.

There aren’t many options that I know of for people who can’t afford the testing. The Celiac Disease Foundation didn’t have any suggestions for me on the phone when I inquired about testing options for people without insurance. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness suggested that there are sometimes free screenings like at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. This is a good option, if one can get to Chicago on that particular day of the year. They also suggested contacting the closest celiac support group to see if they know of any opportunities offered through local health care providers. This is a good idea if such programs exist, if they are convenient, if the person would have any way of knowing about them and if they are running at the time the person is seeking testing.

Unfortunately, without that celiac test, many people are not given credibility for choosing to be on a gluten-free diet, even if it is for health reasons. People like Chanel are not doing it to follow a fad, or to lose weight (many are actually trying to gain weight). They are doing it because they are sick, and they are sick of being sick.

And yet, although they are dedicated to the diet,  they feel left out of support groups, conferences, etc. because they were never diagnosed with celiac disease. (I have received many emails telling me this.)

So, please — doctors, relatives, friends, colleagues — don’t hold it against Chanel and others like her that they are not officially “celiac.” Understand that the world of celiac testing is not perfect and not available to everyone. Believe them when they say they feel better being gluten-free. Welcome them into your support groups, include them in your research and your causes, and most importantly, share with them your gluten-free love!

Thank you, Chanel, for your story. I hope you continue to feel better!


Ask the Doc: Celiac triggered by abdominal surgery?

Posted on March 21st, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Ask the Doc, Symptoms | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

questionmarkgreen1.jpg Q. I noticed your answer to a question about celiac disease that its onset could be caused by abdominal surgery. How is this possible? How often does it happen? I have just recently started seeing a homeopathic MD and one of the tests showed a borderline gluten allergy and thyroid imbalance. All of my symptoms have worsened through 2 pregnancies that resulted in post partum induced thyroidism and an ectopic that ruptured requiring surgery. Your comment about surgery causing celiac disease is interesting. Thank you for any info you can share.

A. Many with latent celiac disease will have activation of the disease after any abdominal surgical procedure; the mechanism is obscure, but is thought to be a result of an intense inflammatory response to the operation.  Non-celiac mimicking conditions such as the Irritable Bowel Syndrome are similarly activated.

Health and happiness,
Dr. Aron

Have a question for the doc?