Fact: I breathed a sign of relief when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
In January of 2008, I was sick. Really sick. My daughter was covered in a large, itchy skin rash and I was having tremendous digestive problems. Nothing I ate was okay, as my stomach couldn't handle anything. Eventually all I could eat was bland potatoes. I was losing weight and muscle mass.
What was wrong with me? And what was wrong with my daughter who was just about to turn one?
I wouldn't say the diagnosis came easy either, because we were told by one doctor that our daughter's rash was normal and would go away. And that as for my stomach problems? "maybe it's just the flu."
Have you ever heard of a flu that can last over a month and results in someone losing a large amount of body weight and muscle mass? I haven't.
And an itchy rash that covers most of your child's body, is not normal. Not at all.
I started to worry that something was seriously wrong with me, because nothing I ate agreed with my digestive system and I was literally melting away. I'm a petite person to begin with, so losing weight was very dangerous for me.
Through a friend, we found an amazing pediatrician to take our daughter to who specializes in children with allergies and I found someone to help me as well. We found out that we both have Celiac Disease, and we were relieved because it was a diagnosis that we could do something about.
There wasn't anything wrong with me that couldn't be fixed, which I had started to wonder about. I thought I was really, really sick because it went on for months until we were diagnosed properly.
My daughter's itchy rash? Dermatis Herpetiformis. I've had it too, in the past, which made me really scratch my head when she began breaking out in the same exact rash that I had once had. But after we were diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the puzzle pieces all fell into place. It all made perfect sense.
Her rash looked like mine because we both have Celiac Disease.
And what if we hadn't found out? What if we were among the 95% that don't know?
We would be really sick, and my daughter may have ended up having growth issues. But instead we found out, changed our diet, and she continued to grow and be healthy.
That's why I was happy to be diagnosed, because it meant the end of suffering. We could make adjustments to our lifestyle and feel better.
Fast forward to a couple of months after being diagnosed with celiac disease, my daughter's skin looked amazing. She still had some eczema which we found out to be related to food and environmental allergens, but she didn't have the Dermatitis Herpetiformis rash anymore. She wasn't covered from head to toe, and we were able to sleep at night because she stopped itching since the rash was gone.
I started gaining weight again and my stomach liked the food I ate!
I remember the first Thanksgiving of being gluten-free. I didn't feel sick after I ate.
That's why I say, be glad for your diagnosis.. because what if you didn't know? Can you imagine the damage that could be happening to your digestive tract? All the nutrients from food that your body can't absorb?
I had chronic iron deficiency both before and during pregnancy with my daughter... this was despite the fact that I took iron supplements. But even on iron supplements, my body just wasn't getting enough.
I had people tell me it was because I'm vegetarian, but I just didn't buy it.
About 6 months after being gluten-free, I weaned myself off the compounded iron supplement I was taking. After I stopped taking it, I noticed that the symptoms of iron deficiency were not returning. I was tested several times over a course of many months and the results were the same: completely normal.
I've had it re-tested every year since my diagnosis in 2008 and my iron levels continue to be perfect.
The iron deficiency was because I have Celiac Disease and didn't know, so my gluten-filled diet was making me sick in more ways than most people imagine it can.
That's why I am thankful to know, because I was able to do something about it at a young age. I am even more thankful to know that my daughter has Celiac, because she will grow up on a healthy, organic, gluten-free diet!
How to be Tested
We used Entero Lab, which I honestly believe is one of the very best ways to be tested. I've showed doctors my test results, and they continue to be amazed by the thorough testing methods employed by Entero Lab.
Blood tests are very inaccurate, yielding false positives 65% of the time. The immune response to gluten happens in the gut, not the blood stream. This is why stool testing is the best choice for testing gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.
I opted for the stool test and gene test from Entero Lab.
Should you be tested?
Celiac disease is genetic. If you have it, at least one of your parents carry a gene. Your family members should be tested. Your children mostly definitely should be tested.
If you have IBS, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, Autoimmune Liver Disease, as well as other conditions.. you may want to be tested. Research shows a link between these conditions and Celiac. The relation may be genetic.
Symptoms for Celiac Disease vary from individual to individual, and can include digestive symptoms (gas, bloating), migraines, joint pain, stunted growth in children, anemia, skin rash, mouth sores.. among many other symptoms including neurological symptoms (gluten ataxia).
If you have symptoms that you believe could be Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity, it would be in your best interest to consult with a qualified health professional that both takes these conditions seriously and is knowledgeable on accurate testing methods for proper diagnosis.