Peg - Self-Diagnosed Gluten Sensitivity Minimally at Age 55 - Weight Loss & Healthier Than I Can Remember!

by Peggy
(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!

Comments for Peg - Self-Diagnosed Gluten Sensitivity Minimally at Age 55 - Weight Loss & Healthier Than I Can Remember!

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Jan 18, 2018
Help, itch driving me crazy
by: Diane

I went gluten, dairy and sugar free for several weeks, as suggested by my Naturopath. When it all got too hard to prepare I reintroduced gluten via bread, then biscuits, etc. and now have an all over skin itch which keeps me up at night. The problem is I don't know what's causing it as I didn't have the itch before the detox. How can I stop the itch and find the cause.

Feb 16, 2017
Stick With It - It's Worth It!
by: Peg - author of original note

I am the author of this original note. It has now been about 5 1/2 years since I went gluten free, decreased dairy intake drastically & try to not eat night shades as much as possible. I am now 60, will be 61 in April.

When I do not follow this diet, I hurt, alot!! It is not really a big deal to try an elimination diet until you find out if you feel better after cutting out gluten & other foods that might be causing unhealthy and debilitating symptoms.

It seems like almost daily there are new gluten & other allergen free foods & recipes, especially online, but also in grocery stores.

Feb 10, 2017
Gluten-free. Give it a try!!
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your comments. I experienced the exact same symptoms, except for the eczema you had on your elbow.

I had on/off numbness/tingling in my arms for 6 years... and recently in my feet. I often experience hives / itchy skin. Plus, inability to fall asleep. Water retention has been out-of-whack for the last 6 years too. Instead of the normal 5 lbs water retention for a week during my cycle, my water weight would shift so drastically (seemingly OVERNIGHT! ) in one way or the other (more often on the side of gain) that I had to wear 1-2 sizes up. I couldn't believe (and no one would believe me) that my water weight could shift that much. I had symptoms related to shifting electrolytes, too... which can be troublesome.

After researching all of my symptoms, I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet, since it was the only thing I felt I consume regularly that could be responsible. Also, my father was 'diagnosed' 25-30 years ago with a gluten intolerance. I'm not sure of the tests, but his Dr advised he totally cut it out. He only did for 3 days. :(

I've been gluten free for 5 days now, and I feel AMAZING. No swinging weight, no itchy skin, and I sleep like a baby. I'm still waiting for the joint pain (if related) to subside. It was the most recent of the ailments. But, everything else is gone!!

The first two days of going gluten free, I was a tad cranky... (which is unusual for me). But by day 3, I was back to myself. And today (day 5), I'm beaming with energy and a great mood. Not tomention, I'm shedding excess water!

I researched it thoroughly. 55 diseases have been correlated with gluten. One of which is kidney disease. Makes sense, as all of the symptoms could be experienced with other kidney issues. LTS, my father was diagnosed last year with stage 3 kidney disease. So, I advised him to cut out gluten once and for all. Several studies support the finding, gluten-induced kidney disease can be reversed within months of going gluten free!! It's worth a shot. :)

Best of luck to all who are experiencing the same. There is a way to find relief. :) Give it a try~ Look for naturally gluten-free products, not just those that capitalize on the marketing (they often use other harmful ingredients to mimic the taste, texture, of their gluten counter-parts).

Mar 03, 2016
Severe Itching Finally Gone
by: Carrie

Oh my god I can really relate to everything said. I have suffered with horrendously itchy skin for so long. I had no clue why it was happening but figured it was something I was consuming without knowing what. I already have a seafood/dairy/peanut allergy so found it hard to think about what else it could be. Then one day I visited my GP. I was bloated, had an eczema flare up, gassy, dodgy stomach, abdominal pains. He was going to test me for celiac disease. I ate weetabix, pastry, bread, pasta over a few days before my blood test and each and everyday I was so terribly itchy I didn't know what to do. After one day of no wheat produce at all I was no longer itchy. My flare up was disappearing and my tummy pains had gone. How amazing that one simple thing we were eating was causing so much misery. I'm still awaiting my blood test results but whatever happens I'm sure as hell never going near wheat again. I've been suffering up until now for around 6-7 years!!!! So pleased to have found the solution :)

Feb 08, 2016
Me too
by: Barry Turner_newall

I had uncontrollable arm itches about two years ago. There were no rashes or blisters but just intense itching that only ice would contain. After lots of Googling I came to the conclusion it was brachioradial pruritis which is a nervous itch associated with neck or spine damage. I get a very sore neck if sitting in the same position. Lately I began cutting gluten and hey presto! The less I ate, the less i itched!

Jan 29, 2016
by: Anonymous

Glad you shared your experience.

Mar 19, 2015
self-diagnosed Gluten Sensitivity
by: Joan

i admire your hard work in finding the answers to your itching! I now know after suffering for over 8 years this is my problem. Thank you!

Dec 09, 2013
Thanks Peg for your Post
by: Anonymous

Thank you! I am starting the gluten-free diet as I have been dealing with excessive fatigue for years and it is only getting worse.

No one can find a reason and I feel my Primary Dr. has given up on me. The only one that does listen and seems to care is the Behavioral Dr. that my primary sent me to as she thought I was depressed, but the behaviorial-ist says "no". Tried sleep test and when the dr. said they came back fine I thought I was going to cry right there in his office. I've never done that before. Something is wrong; why can't anyone find it? When Dr. Oz had a show about gluten-free just recently (I DVR'ed it Dec. '13), every single symptom was me. Actually my Mom called me and asked if I was watching it & said it sounded just like me. Peg, you sound like what I am hoping will be me. I'm 45 and cannot remember waking up one day and feeling rested or going one day and not being tired especially after eating. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope I get to share a positive story one day also. And thanks to The-Gluten-Free-Chef for this site and helping me learn this stuff. I'm an extremely picky eater so this is going to be very hard for me, but this site will help. Thanks to both of you.

Mar 08, 2013
by: Anonymous

I totally know how you feel! I have been through the same problem since I can remember until now I am 32.

Seems like I have woken from a horrible nightmare!

Looking back now I see I did have those hrorrible itches (in my case was the upper back), every time I had gluten, or any product that came from it, such as glucose syrup derived from wheat.

Apart from the itching it gave me tiredness and shaking, and a hunger that I literally could not relieve eating anything! I wonder how many people have the same problem and go undiagnosed for years and years!!! Thank you for sharing your experience. Laura

Feb 23, 2013
Thank You
by: Peg

Thank you for your recommendation!

Feb 22, 2013
by: Anonymous

Hi! Your story sounds pretty similar to mine. Research about insuline resistance. That might be your problem, instead of gluten sensitivity :)

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