How do you figure out gut "issues"? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 12-21-2010, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My whole life I have had continued belly issues.  I am to a place I'm ready to figure this out but am overwhelmed with where to start. A little background:  As a kid, I always had stomach aches, constipation, bad cramping.  In my 20's I went through "IBS" for awhile. Bad cramping everytime I ate, diarrhea. Could never eat out unless there was a bathroom nearby. I increased my fiber and that seemed to help.  I was also very lactose intolerant at that time, but it has since improved some.  Now I just have this top to bottom discomfort and constipation. It's kind of like a pins and needles feeling all over, inside my gut. I admittedly don't eat super healthy and am vegetarian. I also drink too much soda. 

 

So I'm trying to figure this out but don't know where to start. Should I just get rid of the soda (sooo much eaiser said then done), do I increase fiber, do I get allergy testing? Could this be something like colitis or gluten intolerance? Maybe I just need to get in with the doc? I don't know, but am ready for this constant discomfort to be gone!!

 

Any direction on or ideas would be greatly appreciated :)


Mom to Izzy biggrinbounce.gif (12/04) and Violet 2whistle.gif (9/07). love.gif  saynovax.gif treehugger.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 12-21-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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It's hard to know when to seek professional help and when to problem solve on your own.  You could start with some things on your own and then see what clears up and what doesn't, and then decide if you want to experiment on your own more or go see someone already knowing a bit more about yourself.  I've gotten important help from healthcare providers, but I've learned a lot on my own too. 

 

If you want to start on your own... most people seem to have food intolerances, sometimes it's simple and just a few of the common ones, sometimes the list is long.  If you want to eliminate some foods, I'd start with gluten, dairy and soy.  Seems like a lot at first, and it'll obviously mean a whole lot of home cooking and very little convenience, but with some practice and some meal ideas, it can work.  But I'd hope to start seeing some changes if you do that, and then if symptoms come and go, you can start journalling and see if other foods stand out.  Testing can be really helpful if you have a long list of foods, but it's not uncommon to see good results by just taking out some of the most common allergens--so the choice is yours (other folks have ideas on how to test for intolerances, which are more common than traditional IgE allergens and your symptoms certainly could be consistent with intolerances).

 

You've got enough digestive issues, I'd wonder about celiac.  Do other people in your family have as many digestive issues as you do?  Anyone with autoimmune stuff--type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune hypothyroid, something else?  But even if it's not celiac, gluten is just weird stuff, it does a wide variety of weird stuff to people.  We're all intolerant (I mean me, DH and the 2 kids), with a variety of symptoms, but not celiac (I could tell just by symptoms, we haven't tested). 

 

If/when you want to cut out soda, consider really upping your fat intake, and maybe your protein too, and keep snacks close by, I used nuts for that.  That often seems to help when people cut sugary things.  And it may be a LOT of fat--I made snacks heavy on the coconut oil, and I also used meat to help with that--there are vegetarians around on the board, and there's a long thread in the Vegetarian forum that's vegan and gluten free, at least 3 pages, and that would have more ideas than I do. 

 

At some point, consider a probiotic, either a supplement or fermented vegetables.  Homemade sauerkraut and kimchee are really easy, we love kimchee.  Yum, and I can see it help my DD's digestion. 

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#3 of 6 Old 12-21-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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Given the symptoms you describe, it could easily be celiac disease, so personally I would want to work with a GI doc on getting that figured out. The "treatment" is to remove all gluten from your diet, but it's important to know that you have to be currently eating gluten in order to get an official diagnosis of celiac disease.

 

If you want to do something right now before you're able to see a doctor, maybe starting with eliminating dairy would be the way to go. That way you can at least find out if your current symptoms are related to dairy consumption. I'd also consider starting a food journal to see if you can find any patterns with particular foods causing worse symptoms.

 

And yes, I'd eliminate soda because that has got to be irritating to your gut. smile.gif You could maybe try replacing it with sparkling water with a dash of fruit juice.


Living the good life and walking a path of peace with DH and DD (4/09)
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#4 of 6 Old 12-21-2010, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies!  I think that is the exact kind of info I was looking for.....to see if my syptoms stood out in one way or another. I am curious about the Celiac...though there is no family history that I am aware of (though lots of family who also have stomach problems). That's tested through a blood test right? Also, I just appreciate the direction of where to look. I was wondering if I look at ulcers vs. ibs vs food allergies, ahh! This totally helps.

 

I'm totally getting off the soda...I just know my body is trying to tell me something and I have to listen, I am just too uncomfortable right now.


Mom to Izzy biggrinbounce.gif (12/04) and Violet 2whistle.gif (9/07). love.gif  saynovax.gif treehugger.gif

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#5 of 6 Old 12-21-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wish View Post

Thanks for the replies!  I think that is the exact kind of info I was looking for.....to see if my syptoms stood out in one way or another. I am curious about the Celiac...though there is no family history that I am aware of (though lots of family who also have stomach problems). That's tested through a blood test right? Also, I just appreciate the direction of where to look. I was wondering if I look at ulcers vs. ibs vs food allergies, ahh! This totally helps.

 

I'm totally getting off the soda...I just know my body is trying to tell me something and I have to listen, I am just too uncomfortable right now.


I believe that the definitive diagnosis is done through intestinal biopsy, but there are also blood tests to check for the genes that cause celiac. Celiac is way, way underdiagnosed, so it's possible that a bunch of people in your family could have it and just not know.

 

Good luck finding some answers! I hope you're able to start feeling better very soon.


Living the good life and walking a path of peace with DH and DD (4/09)
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#6 of 6 Old 12-22-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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There is a celiac blood test, and if the numbers are high, then they do the biopsy to confirm and to see how much damage there is. There is also a celiac gene test. Two of my kids and I have gluten intolerance (not celiac; 2 of us had the blood test, and I'm assuming the other one is the same way). I also think cutting out the top allergens is a good idea, especially if it's all the time. If it were more sporadic, I'd say start with the food journal and see what patterns develop. But since it's constant, it sounds like it's something you're consuming regularly. If it's ulcers, they're most often caused by bacteria, but it doesn't sound like that given your symptoms. I had "IBS" symptoms as well; mine turned out to be soy-induced. And dairy causes other symptoms, and gluten and corn cause other symptoms. So you may find that there is more than one food, and you may find that other things improve that you didn't realize were related (when I went off the top intolerance foods I found I didn't have constant nightmares, anxiety, the "IBS" went away, and I didn't get back spasms - who knew all that could come from food?!). The first step is recognizing the problem though, so you're on your way.


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