Ever since a young boy I never felt energized. I remember at the age of 9 telling my father that I always felt tired. To me it didn’t seem normal not to be running around like the rest of the kids. I had to force myself to do any type of activity. Focusing for any length of time was always a struggle. I would get bloated at least once a week and to me this became a way of life. My bowel movements were constantly uncomfortable ( constipated) and this really took a toll on me for most of my childhood well into my adult years. My list of symptoms can go on forever: red, itchy eyes, chicken skin on arms (keratosis Pilaris), bloating, belching, heartburn, oily-foul – smelling stool, numbness and tingling sensation in my left hand fingers (ring and pinky) and toes, hair loss/breakage, brittle nails, dark circles under my eyes, mouth ulcers, itchy skin, bone pain, joint pain/inflammation, chronic fatigue, mood swings, depression, infertility (?), flatulence.
For many years this is what I have known as my normal life. I came to expect and experience these symptoms on a recurring basis. I had visited so many doctors- dermatologists, general practitioners, ophthalmologists, got tested for allergies among numerous tests and I would just receive a prescription for nothing concrete and go out about my life with no real solution to my ailments.
It was about 6 months ago that my girlfriend asked me if I knew about gluten intolerance. She told me that a lot of the symptoms I was experiencing were associated with being gluten sensitive/intolerant. I became so involved in the literature that I eventually ran into coeliac disease. I learned how some people have a reaction to eating gluten and realized that essentially I suffered most if not all the symptoms that are associated with this autoimmune disorder. I decided to go gluten free before being diagnosed and noticed how much more energized I felt, I began having normal bowel movements, no more being stuck to the toilet for long periods of time, my hair stopped falling, nails started to grow thicker. I decided to go get officially diagnosed so I scheduled an appointment with the gastroenterologist to get the TgA (transglutamine) test done. I believe this is the most common and least expensive test that is administered. However, for this test to be effective one must be on a gluten diet and I had been on a gluten free diet about a month before I got tested. I decided to go through with the test anyways and of course it came back within ‘normal range.’ I decided not to pursue any further testing as a lot of the symptoms I had experienced had miraculously vanished soon after starting the gluten free diet.
The picture of the fish above is of a dish I had recently (not realizing at the time that it was breaded) and I paid the consequences dearly. I felt fatigued and experienced constipation soon after. The pictures below portray the skin reaction/rash when I accidentally ingest gluten -containing foods.