Getting Diagnosed Gluten Intolerant – My Story
So there I was, sick, tired, itchy and grumpy all of the time. And that was just how life was, I did not know I could feel better. I had a sneaking suspicion that something was messing with my body and mind. But after countless trips to the doctor – I just gave up and started to put up with the status quo. Here is my story of becoming gluten free.
Before I knew I was gluten intolerant
Bloated, burping, bitching, wheezing, grumping, gurgling and being incredibly moody where just a few of the symptoms I use to have back in the 90’s and 00’s. I had always been itchy eczema covered kid, but after a bout of meningitis during my high school years my immune system seemed to go haywire and I developed an allergy to gluten (among other things).
The struggle to get someone to test me.
I began to believe I had an allergy to something I was eating – because I would go home during my university holidays, and eat my mothers healthy cooking, and I would drop weight, stop bloating, my skin would clear up, my eczema went away.
Then when I returned to my university flat and ate my high bread, high pasta, high beer diet (like any Otago Student) – my health started to go down the drain.
I felt like I was at student health every other week getting antibiotics for skin infections, antacids of ulcers, eczema cream.
I asked my doctor to do some skin prick testing on me – to see if I had a food allergy – and she flat out refused and told me I would have eczema for the rest of my life – and to just deal with it! (what an uninformed B*cth).
Anyway fast forward another 2 years where my dad returned home from a course on food allergies and showed me a list of symptoms – I could tick off about 90% of them.
He also had an action plan for me – the low-stress diet – This was an elimination diet – where you take things back to the paleo era and eat like a cave man. Because the foods back then were natural, they did not put stress on your body, after a few weeks eating meat, vege and seeds – I introduced a new stress food every few days and made a journal of my results. (And also lost 10kgs – BONUS).
From doing this diet I got in touch with my body – and how it reacts to what I fuel it with. I realize I am sensitive to dairy products, sugar and some raw fruits, I also shouldn’t consume large quantities of carbohydrates. Now I can eat in a way that makes me feel great and fuels my day.
How I got diagnosed.
After the low-stress diet I described above I slowly introduced “normal” foods back into my diet. Because I had no official diagnosis, there was still the odd glutenous burger here or beer there. But after a year or so I noticed my health had declined, my eczema was back (and making me depressed) and my weight was starting to pile on again, I also suspected I had a few other allergies. So this time I decided to seek help from a medical professional.
First I started with:
Skin prick testing – This is where the doctor pricks your skin with a needle, and drops a solution of certain allergenic materials to see if you start to show signs of an allergic reaction (e.g. dust mites, soy, cats, gluten, dairy etc).
I also had one of these done at the blood test clinic where they suggested I bring along any of the fruit or vegetables I thought I might be allergic to – which is how I found out I have oral allergy syndrome).
IGA & IGG Blood Tests – This is where they test your blood to see how sensitive your body is to gluten and if you have any gut damage. Here is a more detailed explanation from a specialist in the area.
Gluten blood tests… look for evidence of gluten harm: this is to make the diagnosis of gluten-sensitivity (reactions to gluten without the gut damage).
- Anti gliadin antibody IgG (AGA-IgG) (Also called IgG-gliadin antibody)
- Anti gliadin antibody IgA (AGA-IgA) (Also called IgA-gliadin antibody)
A positive test shows that you have an immune reaction to gluten. This might not be causing symptoms yet. Most gluten-sensitive people have a high IgG-gliadin test.
Source: Dr Rodney Ford
You need to still be ingesting gluten when you have this blood test to get an accurate reading.
Always seek help from a professional there are some alternative routes: If you find you have resistance from your local GP naturopaths and nutritionists are also very helpful at identifying sensitives with food. They tend to look at the whole picture, not just the symptoms so could be worth consulting.