Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gluten-Free: To Be Or Not To Be?

I started this gluten-free trial mostly out of fear.

I was seriously freaked out when I developed bloody diarrhea in late January. And Scott must have been mildly freaked out too, because he was the one who suggested it was time to try going gluten-free whether I had celiac or not.

We agreed on my going gluten-free for the month of February, and then, sometime in March, would try re-introducing gluten to see if it made me worse.

Meanwhile, we've been trying to figure out whether being gluten-free has helped any of my symptoms.

The bloody diarrhea did stop a few days into being gluten-free, but there's no real way of knowing whether the two are connected. It could just as easily be that I finished my antibiotics, or going fresh fruit and veggie free gave my intestines enough of a break to heal and stop bleeding.

My gut in general is feeling better. And maybe that's from going gluten-free, but my problems with my gut were so recent that it's hard to know whether they'd have eased up by now anyway. (I'm not symptom free in my abdomen, but it's much less severe than it was. I'm hoping the improvement doesn't mean my colonoscopy will be inconclusive.)

The only thing that has me really surprised is that I seem to be waking up earlier than what my normal has been for a couple years now. I'm averaging closer to 12 hours of sleep instead of the usual 14 to 16. Of course, because I'm waking up around 9 a.m.-ish, I'm completely faded by lunch time and needing more naps. So mixed blessings, and we'll see how it plays out.

I know three weeks is really brief to decide whether being gluten-free helps. But I've heard that people with celiac and gluten-intolerance generally start seeing some definite improvement very quickly, sometimes in a matter of days. So while I think there's still a chance that I have a gluten sensitivity, I'm very doubtful that it's celiac.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up that I'll get a definitive diagnosis after the colonoscopy on March 3. But it's tough not to hope ...


Joan said...

This may help.



p1nkg0dess said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you're left with more (as of yet) unanswered health questions! I want to commend your critical analysis of the gluten free diet. It is so difficult with ambiguous, transient symptoms to determine treatment effect, but it looks like you're examining all possibilities thoroughly. I hope that the colonoscopy is helpful in figuring out what is going on and where to go with treatment!

Aviva said...

Joan: Thanks. It didn't really tell me much about my quandary. I did learn a little bit about the importance of knowing whether one actually has celiac or "just" an intolerance. What I'm looking for is a way to determine whether being gluten-free is beneficial to me even if I'm not seeing a huge improvement on a GF trial.

Aviva said...

p1nk: Thanks for the kind words! You did hit the nail on the head about the challenges of ambiguous and transient symptoms!