Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine, interferes with absorption of nutrients from food, and it is a very prevalent aspect of my life. It affects my daily food choice, where I eat and how I prepare foods. Living in household, where you are the only one who needs to eat gluten free can be tricky. I don’t want to deprive the rest of my family of the joys of fresh bread, whole wheat pasta or cakes and cookies, but I have to be careful when preparing my food that it doesn’t come in contact with gluten. People with celiac disease are so sensitive that a single bread crumb left behind in a toaster, a cloud of wheat flour dust, or a spoon that was use to stir pasta can bring on our symptoms.
When most people think of the symptoms associated with celiac disease they tend to think of gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating (I look 6 months pregnant when I eat a gluten meal!), diarrhea, sever abdominal pain and vomiting. Celiac Disease can cause sever symptoms, but sometimes the symptoms don’t present themselves in state you would associate with celiac disease. I decided to research a few different symptoms that can flare up as a result of a celiac eating gluten. It’s funny how I experienced many of these symptoms when I was undiagnosed and often felt like my entire body was failing me when really it was gluten poisoning. Although I have been gluten free for almost a year now, if I eat something that contains hidden gluten or come in contact with something that has been cross contaminated with gluten, these symptoms reappear.
1. Canker sores
Canker sores are white ulcers that appear inside the mouth on the inside of the cheek, soft palate or tongue. They can be accompanied by fever, lethargy or swollen lymph nodes and sometime appear greyish or ringed in red circle. Canker sores are divided into two categories: Simple and Complex. Simple canker sores normally occur 3-4 times a year and last for a week or less with no treatment. Complex canker sores occur repetitively and are caused by an underlying cause (i.e. Celiac Disease).
Canker sores are s a warning for a person with celiac disease. For a person on a gluten free diet, a canker sore can signal when they have ingest a hidden source of gluten (Canker).
Currently, I am fighting a canker sore. I have had it for 2 days. For me, the hidden source is not so hidden. I ate in a public restaurant for my son’s 7th birthday. Although my meal was classified as gluten free via their nutritional guide, regulations in public restaurants do not take in account for cross contamination. It’s a chance I take anytime I eat something that doesn’t contain the Gluten free symbol or something I made myself.
2. Brain fog
3. Gluten Ataxia
Gluten Ataxia occurs when the gluten protein literally attacks and damages the part of their brains responsible for motor resulting in numbness, a sensation of pins and needles and potentially weakness in your extremities. Although, I have been clumsy all my life, I notice a dramatic increase a year and a half ago. I would be drink tea and one minute the cup was in my hand and the next minute it was on the floor. I broke a lot of dishes prior to my diagnosis and at one time I though that I might be developing a neurlogical disease because the symptoms were so reoccurring. Even now that I am on a complete gluten free diet, I know when I have ingested gluten or come in contact with gluten as a result of cross contamination. Neurological symptoms such as, unstable balance, loss of coordination, the ‘drop’sies, etc, become more prevalent.
Celiac disease is a very confusing, complex disease they symptoms have not been fully understood. It is estimated that one in 1 in 133 persons in Canada, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease and it is estimated that 83% of those people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other condition. There is a great variation of symptoms among those with celiac disease, and although one may have no obvious symptoms, damage to the intestinal lining is still occurring.