The Gluten Free Experiment. That’s all this was ever supposed to be…an experiment. You see, I suffered for approximately 8 years or more from what my doctors called acid reflux. I went to my primary care doctor with complaints of a burning pain in my stomach. That was the best way I could describe it. He wanted to rule out an ulcer so I went to a GI specialist and had an endoscopy which only showed mild esophageal irritation and no ulcer. They put me on acid reflux medicine and sent me on my way. The thing that always baffled me (and made me question if it was really reflux) was that my pain virtually went AWAY when I laid down. It did not get worse as reflux usually does. No doctor could explain this to me. The medicine helped decrease the burning stomach pain but I would still have awful discomfort at times.
Coincidentally, I tried the South Beach Diet to break my sugar cravings and noticed that during Phase 1 (which is carb free) I was pain free when I forgot my medication. Normally I would be in pain if I missed even one dose. I had always kept this in the back of my mind. As I slowly added the carbs back into my diet I needed to be back on my medicine. The next year, I went to a different GI specialist for a second opinion. I had an abdominal CT scan and another endoscopy. This time they biopsied my small intestine to check for Celiac disease since I had mentioned my carb free, pain free connection. I was Celiac negative.
Cut to 6 years later I was still on reflux medication (and had tried many different kinds by that point) and still having breakthrough pain which would be so bad that I would have to leave work and it would ruin vacations. I had finally had enough. In the process of trying to figure out what was REALLY wrong, because I always felt that I did not truly have reflux, I came across some information on the gluten free diet. There were a list of diagnoses that a gluten free diet seemed to help and acid reflux was one of them! I also found out that you can be Celiac negative but still have gluten sensitivity. I thought…could this be IT?! I knew I had to try it, but I was nervous. I am ¾ Italian. How could I give up my Mom’s lasagna and all of her other wonderful cooking? I was hopeful that this was the answer to my problem, yet dreading it at the same time. How great would it be if this helped me, but how hard would it be to give up the things I loved to eat?
I decided to try it for 2 weeks while still taking my reflux meds. I then tried it for another 2 weeks while being off the meds. I had NO PAIN. To this day I am pain & medication free, unless I go out to eat or to a social gathering and accidentally eat something with gluten. The only thing that takes the edge off when I have an exposure is taking my reflux meds. It’s as if it prevents the acid from further hurting the areas of my stomach the gluten has irritated. But I am no doctor. All I know is that it has been over 4 years now and I feel better than ever. It’s amazing how something that was just an experiment has changed my life for the better.
Are you considering going gluten free? Why?
Have you tried a gluten free diet? How/did you feel better?
***Disclaimer: I am not a physician. Please consult with your doctor if you are having health issues and/or to discuss dietary changes. ***
(This post was originally listed in the About Me section of my blog, but I felt it deserved it’s own post since it’s the whole story of how this all began!)