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Lupus And Celiac Connection

Celiac and Lupus

Marlaine was diagnosed with lupus when she was 38. She blamed the symptoms she experienced through the following years on lupus. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with celiac and removed gluten from her diet (over a dozen years later) that she realized that many of her symptoms could be blamed on undiagnosed celiac. 

Marlaine shared her story below.

Celiac and Other Autoimmune Diseases

It’s not uncommon for a person to be diagnosed with one or more autoimmune disease before or after being diagnosed with celiac. Lupus is one of those autoimmune diseases. 

Individuals with celiac disease are at an overall higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases than the general public, according to this article published by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).

Celiac and Lupus: My Celiac Story

as written by Marlaine

It never occurred to me that I had an issue with gluten, other than I LOVE GLUTEN. I was a donut hole junkie. 

Looking back now, I see the signs. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 51. I think partly because at 38 I was diagnosed with Lupus, so any ill feeling was attributed to that. Once that got under control, I remember asking my rheumatologist, ‘does this medicine make you gassy?’

His answer was a quizzicle “no?”
(Is quizzicle a word?) Lets use it anyway.

Swollen Feet And Esophagus Pain

Swollen feet – I had that a lot. I chalked it up to just being the type to retain water. Fast forward to 2014. I was going to physical therapy for nagging foot pain I blamed on my daily running routine. About that same time, I noticed that whenever I ate, it felt like my food would get stuck. I remember telling my husband, I must be eating too fast. Shortly after that, I was eating carrots at my desk at work, and it felt like a piece got stuck going down. Not in a choking way, just an uncomfortable pain in the esophagus.

The pain continued for over a week before I visited the doctor. She suggested the test I dreaded the most. Endoscopy. Fearing the worst, I went. Their initial diagnosis? Celiac. The blood test later also confirmed. The gastroenterologist said that by changing my diet I will feel better in more ways than just the esophagus pain. He was right, No more physical therapy needed, no more swollen feet, no more gassy belly.

It’s taken a while, but I’m learning how to be more aware. Eating out can be a challenge! I get a little sad sometimes, but there are a lot worse things out there. I can surely deal with this.

Improved Lupus Symptoms?

I asked Marlaine if she felt that being gluten free improved her lupus symptoms. “That’s a hard question,” she said. “But I would say yes. I do pretty well with my lupus symptoms in general, but I would say I have less days of being overly tired and less joint pain.”

I love her quote:
“Whoever thought the words ‘dedicated fryer’ could bring so much happiness?!”

So true! Thank you for your positive outlook on this diet (which happens to be medicine for the person with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity).

Thank you so much, Marlaine, for sharing your story.

Share A Story - Plant A Seed

Check out the Celiac Stories page for dozens of stories.
Be sure to request celiac tests before removing gluten from your diet.

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