What is wrong with me?  I’m a celiac.

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.

3 thoughts on “What is wrong with me?  I’m a celiac.

  1. Hi! My 2 year old has a gluten sensitivity, mainly presenting itself in digestion issues and constipation. I know recently she accidentally ate something containing gluten and she now has an identical rash on her arms and legs. Your photo is the only one I have come across that looks similar. Does yours itch? Everything I search brings up dermatitis herpetiformis, which does not look similar and is supposed to be very itchy. How long did the rash last and did it just go away when gluten was removed from your diet? Thanks!


    1. Hi Amy. The rash does not really itch on its own. It itches when I provoke it, that is, if i run my nails through then it starts itching, but it is not an unbearable itch. For me it’s very hard to prepare meals most of the time so I tend to eat out a lot. Even though I may order something that’s not fried or that I think wok not contain gluten, my skin usually flares up. You know that’s hidden in so many things including sauces etc, so it’s very hard to keep gluten free when eating out. What I can tell you is that recently I contracted pneumonia so I stayed home for 2 weeks. During this time I cooked all meals (bkfast, lunch and dinner) at my house and it definitely cleared up, very noticeably. Glad your on top of this when your baby is young this way she can enjoy a better life and learns to take good care of herself as far as what foods to avoid. I have to say, I went to a gastroenterologist recently (while being gluten free for a month) they ran some test can’t remember its name (tgA trans glutamine) and of course came back negative. That’s the only one I had done, so I’m not officially diagnosed with gluten sensitivity/coeliac, but I don’t think I need to have that officially recognized when I know al the symptoms I’ve described in my post when I breads, pastas, soy sauce, and everything else. So I just stay away from gluten and no longer bloated, fatigued as much as I used to.

      Thank you for your comment.


  2. Thank you for your response! She also has not been officially diagnosed. The only test she’s had done was a blood test for celiac, which was traumatic for her and came back negative. She had horrible constipation for nearly a year though and we tried so many things which had no effect, even PEG and laxatives as recommended by her doctor. Since removing gluten from her diet, her bowel movements have been SO much better and she rarely complains about stomach pains… except for recently with this gluten mishap and rash that has flared up. So, just as you said, I don’t think we need for it to be officially recognized to know that gluten is the culprit. I’m just happy to have found out now what the cause is so she is not dealing with the symptoms for years! Glad you have figured it out for yourself as well!


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