I’m Celiac – How Good Can I Expect to Feel?

Image: Dr. Vikki Petersen
Vikki Petersen, D.C., C.C.N.

Discovering that you have celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity, is often a decade long process (or longer!) that entails many doctors, many drugs to treat symptoms actually being caused by gluten, and a lot of treatments that don’t work.

When you finally find out the ‘real’ answer – gluten – you think all your problems will be solved. And initially, it often seems that they are. But, due to a continued leaky gut, undiagnosed infections, a compromised immune system, cross-reactive foods (those that mimic gluten), poor digestive enzyme levels, probiotic imbalances and/or hormone imbalance, symptoms often return.

If can be quite frustrating to diligently follow a gluten-free diet, only to feel somewhat better. I’ve known many people whom became so discouraged that they began cheating occasionally. They figured that they weren’t feeling great anyway, why try so hard?

As the problems persist, one is easily left with the idea that this mediocre health status is as good as it gets. And too often, doctors concur.

Is it asking too much to handle those lingering symptoms? I don’t think so. We have coined the term “Secondary Effects of Gluten” to address the exact scenario I’ve been discussing. And if you find that this describes you, believe me you are in very good company.

If you’ve heard me speak of the secondary effects of gluten before, believe me it bears repeating. Why? Because this problem of lingering, or returning symptoms, is truly the most common complaint I hear from individuals who have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. And here at HealthNOW we have people visit us from around the world.

What to do?

  1. Don’t give up. There’s always a reason for underlying symptoms and you just need to find out what it is.
  2. Find a clinician who understands the secondary effects of gluten and has the diagnostic tools to discover what specifically is affecting you.
  3. If you need help, feel free to contact us for a free health analysis. Call 408-733-0400 – we are here to help!

Please share this information with others you know. Whether the friend or family member has been diagnosed with gluten intolerance and continues to suffer symptoms, or their health issues fall within the over 300 that could be associated with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, let them know about gluten.

While it may seem sometimes that ‘everyone’ now knows about gluten, nothing could be farther from the truth. Those of us who live with gluten intolerance are so well versed in it that it may seem unlikely that ‘everyone’ isn’t aware of the problem. But I promise you that awareness has a long way to go before millions who continue to suffer needlessly get properly diagnosed.

Please join me in helping these children and adults by sharing this information.

And please accept my heartiest wishes for a happy, healthy, gluten-free Holiday and a prosperous New Year!

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

One Reply to “I’m Celiac – How Good Can I Expect to Feel?”

  1. Thank you for your article. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2013. For the longest time, I subscribed to the notion that no pain was normal. That there must be an underlying cause for the continued food reactions and lethargia I was feeling. I stopped eating out. I prepared all of my food at home. I threw out all my old cooking and baking supplies that could be contaminated and cleaned my entire kitchen. I went gluten free, then also went without dairy, then grains, then foods high in fodmaps. I did a stint at Mayo clinic and at Barnes Hospital in Saint Louis. The end result? Still unable to eat grains or dairy without pain. Can’t do garlic, onion, or tomato, either, because of severe acid reflux disease. I have been restricting my diet for so long to try and determine an underlying cause for all of this, but the bottom line is: celiac disease hurts. So does IBS. And once you’ve gone for 30 years eating things you shouldn’t, there is a very good chance you still won’t heal to 100 percent. Even with a gut that now appears perfectly normal when I have a colonoscopy and EGD done, I still have pain and lethargia. At some point, you have to forgive yourself for still being in pain, start exercising as a distraction from it, and eat the foods that are only mildly irritating indulgences (high fodmaps, dairy) occasionally so that you can live again. I restricted foods I thought were hurting me to the point where I almost developed an eating disorder. Without good dieticians in the area, it is important to take good care of yourself. It’s great to try new things and to keep a healthy variety of gf foods around. But if you still aren’t feeling better and have truly exhausted all your options, forgive yourself. Maybe one day there will be a better answer discovered for those of us who are diligent about improving our health but still aren’t seeing results. Still hurting? Still trying your best? Maybe you arent doing anything wrong. And you definitely are not alone.

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