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Migraines and Gluten
It took Lyne 8 years to discover the cause for the increasingly debilitating symptoms she was experiencing. Her migraines began at age 35. It wasn’t until she was 43 that she realized gluten was behind them. She removed gluten and the migraines stopped.
Lyne had headaches in high school. They increased to migraines in her mid-thirties. Frequent migraines. Every-other-day migraines. And then, over the year prior to removing gluten, her migraines were daily. “They were so bad I didn’t know why I was alive,” she said.
Along with migraines and joint and muscle pain, Lyne experienced a rash on her elbows, heart arrhythmia, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, gerd, and constipation and diarrhea. She also had bruises all over her legs. (Me too! I always had unexplained bruises!)
These symptoms were at their worst during the year before she removed gluten.
She had also experienced other autoimmune diseases. Vitiligo started approximately five years prior to realizing gluten was a problem. Raynaud’s disease and alopecia began the year prior to removing gluten.
She also developed an allergy to many foods. Wheat, almonds, soy, and sea food. She is also intolerant to casein, beans, peas, peanuts, rice, wine and alcohol.
Lyne ultimately asked to be tested for celiac. “I had to ask for the test. No doctor ever suggested it in 8 years,” she shared. But she had already been gluten free for a year by the time she asked.
And here’s the problem – at many levels!
Lyne had to research her own health. Ideally, her doctor would have had the education about celiac (and the MANY symptoms and related autoimmune diseases that are connected to celiac) and he would have tested her years before. But he didn’t. Celiac is not often an area that gets much attention in med school.
Through her personal efforts and through her personal research, Lyne discovered the impact gluten had had on her health. This wasn’t a quick process. She suffered for years before discovering the culprit.
By the time she requested a test, she’d been gluten free for a year.
No gluten = no antibodies, which means tests will be negative. It is important to test while still consuming gluten.
Coping With Gluten Free
Everyone copes differently. We each have a different set of circumstances and we each have to find our own way.
Being sick surely contributes to the difficulty in facing dietary redirection. Having to eliminate multiple foods adds to the equation. The bright side is when this journey is supported (and even shared) by loved ones.
Lyne, her husband, and their two kids, all discovered the impact gluten was having on their health. Their home is 100% gluten free. But Lyne still finds it difficult. She finds it emotionally difficult. The risk of cross contamination and the fact that she has to also juggle other food allergies means that she very rarely dines out.
The Emotional Side
Having to be aware of ingredients at all times can be overwhelming. Lyne shared that she struggles with finding resources that help with the emotional side of this journey.
Lyne, I hope this series helps: The Emotional Side of Gluten Free, Post #1: Mourning the Loss.