Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wishing For Clear-Cut Answers

Starting a gluten-free trial a month before my colonoscopy and endoscopy probably wasn't the most brilliant of timing.

But the bloody diarrhea was scary, and changing my diet was one of the few things I could control.

I seem to have a knack for making these decisions on the spur of the moment though, and it didn't take much persuasion to decide to do a gluten trial the day after my tests.

In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to wait until my throat wasn't sore from the endoscopy and my bowels had regulated after being purged in preparation for the colonoscopy.

Instead, I had a regular cupcake on Thursday evening with Scott & Ellie, and on Friday I went fully back on gluten.

Now, if I'd had a clear-cut improvement from going gluten-free, I wouldn't have tested adding gluten back into my diet. But it's all so subjective, and my condition can vary so much from day to day and week to week anyway, we really weren't sure. Scott, who had encouraged me to try going gluten-free was very skeptical that I'd had any improvement during the month I tried it.

So I added gluten back in, and then wondered if the killer reflux was so intense because of the gluten, or because my throat was raw and my esophagus had been biopsied and not fully healed yet.

Today, my gut is very unhappy, and I don't know whether it's the gluten or simply a coincidence.

In my case, it's all so subjective in trying to figure out whether gluten is playing a role. I know that's not true for folks with celiac disease and severe sensitivities. But I wonder if I'm just one of those people in the gray area on whether being gluten free is helpful or not.

I've seen some people describe getting accidental gluten via cross contamination or poorly labeled foods, and having very clear-cut reactions to it. But for me, it seems like nothing is ever simple and clear cut.

And yes, I will be going back to a gluten-free diet, at least for awhile longer. I'll probably do another test of gluten at some point in the future, but I'll try not to make that decision on a whim. Hopefully that will make the results more definitive.


baltimoreknitter said...

I have a gluten sensitivity. I tested negative for celiac (both the blood test and biopsy), but had a violent reaction to gluten when I tested it after an elimination diet last spring. I was experiencing daily pain and frequent soft, shapeless BMs. It took a few months after I stopped eating gluten for the pain to gradually subside, and about 9 months for my bowel movements to turn solid and normal looking again. So gluten may or may not be part of what's causing problems for you, but sometimes healing from a food sensitivity takes time. An elimination diet is a great way of determining whether or not you have any food sensitivities - I did mine with the help of a naturopathic physician. It's a long process: 3 -4 weeks of taking all of the 8 most common food allergens out of your diet and then adding them back in one by one to see how your body reacts. But had I not done that, I wouldn't have known that gluten really is a problem for me.

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