Peg - Self-Diagnosed Gluten Sensitivity Minimally at Age 55 - Weight Loss & Healthier Than I Can Remember!
(Monee, IL, USA)
I have been gluten free for almost 6 months now. I discovered accidentally that I either have gluten intolerance and/or gluten sensitivity. I am almost 56 years old and believe I have been gluten sensitive for 20, 30, or more years! The first and worst symptom was severely itchy skin, usually just in my arms, but to a degree where it was absolute torture. Nothing seemed to diminish it except, looking back now, high doses of Benadryl which would calm it in an hour or so, but then I would of course be very sleepy from the Benadryl.
I started eating healthier and walking due to a job change. This included less pasta and carbs, both foods that I believe I was addicted to prior to going gluten free. The itching skin I always attributed to other allergens, such as hard water, medications I was taking, dog hair, etc.
One Sunday after having been eating less gluten via pasta and carbs for a couple of weeks, I used what I had in the cupboards for a quick meal - regular pasta and sauce made with cream of chicken soup and frozen vegetables.
Within 10 minutes or so of the first bite my arms started itching horribly, so I quit eating the dish I had made and took some Benadryl. I also did a google search on food allergies causing itchy skin. That is the first time I came across information about gluten sensitivities. Regular pasta and cream of chicken soup - both packed with gluten!
The next morning I had a bowl of oatmeal from Wow Bao, advertised as healthy, and again my skin started itching within a few minutes of the first bite. I quit eating it, itching went away and I did more internet browsing and decided to try a gluten free diet including no oats.
I had absolutely NO itchy skin for the first two weeks on the gluten free diet. I knowingly ate a home made dish with the only gluten containing ingredient being soy sauce, sort of as a test - hello severely itching skin!!
Since being gluten free, I have lost 25lbs. with the only diet change being gluten free. I used to have horrible carb and sugar cravings, severe enough to make me think I was truly addicted to them - all such cravings are now completely gone!! And no itchy skin unless I accidentally eat something with gluten.
I thought my legs were just fat - but they were bloated as well as my feet and hands - gone within a week or so of gluten free diet. Other symptoms that went away and have stayed away are severe pain and tingling in feet and hands (peripheral neuropathy perhaps?), a 6" patch
of possibly eczema, that I have had for decades on my left elbow, completely peeled away and disappeared. All of my skin all over feels like new - silky and smooth, hard to explain, but a definitely noticeable improvement!!
I feel so much better overall, an immediate noticeable difference when I started a gluten free diet. I used to become out of breath and exhausted, and my hands and feet would get bloated if I tried to exercise such as walking outside for a mile or so. Now I can walk for many miles and feel better during and after, no bloating, no aches and pains of feet and hands, not out of breath, actually feeling great for a change and how I imagine exercising is supposed to make you feel!!
I went to my primary care doctor after being gluten free for 4 months and having lost 20 lbs. She referred me to an enterologist where I had genetic testing for the celiac genes - that test came back saying I had less than .01 percent chance of having celiac disease. I then had a colonoscopy - screening, a few polyps removed; and an upper GI with a small intestine biopsy. Everything very surprisingly came back normal, with only a little gastritis noticeable.
Wondering what the biopsy really looked at - did they specifically look a the villi under a microscope? Might ask the doctor one of these days, but not really needed, gluten free I will remain no matter what any doctors or tests might convey!!
Oh, another symptom when eating gluten for decades had been severe heartburn and GERD which I just treated with over the counter meds., every day, but really hate going to the doctor for anything. That is also completely gone!!
ANYWAY - I have never felt healthier in my entire life!!! And I am almost 56! the gastroenterologist said if I feel better on a gluten free diet, stay on it, go back in 5 years for a colonoscopy. No mention of non-celiac gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Internet blogs and web-sites have been wonderfully informative and really my one and only source for in-depth information and recommendations.
I wish I could share my story with everyone!! I tell friends and family of course, and encourage them to give a gluten free diet a try if they have any thoughts of having a sensitivity or just to see if it makes them feel better. Costs nothing to try, but may just result in a better quality of life all around.
I have been finding more and more gluten free foods and restaurants with gluten free menus. And Internet sites and blogs such as this one. It's really been a rather nice and interesting adventure for me!