The Long Road to Celiac Disease

Melina Young Health Guide
  • I was officially diagnosed with celiac disease in 2010 - on Friday, July 30, 2010 to be exact. However, my path to diagnosis started much earlier than that. I have been lethargic and had headaches as long as I can remember. I was first diagnosed with migraines during my sophomore year in high school. My neurologist have me a long (LONG) list of items to completely eliminate from my diet, including chocolate, caffeine, aged cheese, processed meat and different types of fruit, vegetables, bread, etc. After six months without eating any of these items, I could add them back one at a time to see what cause me to have a headache. Pizza was a factor for me - and no one mentioned that wheat intolerance can be a large factor in migraines. 

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    Aproximately five years later, that diagnosis changed to be migraines and tension headaches. For those of you who suffer from migraines, you know that this diagnosis means lots of pills and nothing that can really work for prevention.


    I also underwent extensive allergy testing (many pokes with horrible little needles - something I absolutely hate) to discover that I wasn't allergic to anything. Celiac isn't a gluten allergy so bread/wheat/gluten wouldn't have shown up on the test. Another frustrating and expensive testing process completed with no positive solution.


    In December of 2006 I got engaged (yay) and loved wearing my wedding ring everywhere and showing it off. Who doesn't? Unfortunately, after a few months I developed a terrible allergy to the ring and my hands began to break out uncontrollably with an itchy rash. The doctor said it was eczema and gave me a cream to put on that didn't really help too much. Sadly, I haven't worn my wedding ring for almost 3 years unless it is a really special occasion.


    In June 2010, I started having terrible stomach pains that kept me up all night. Cramps and stabbing pains that left me in the fetal position for hours. I promptly made an appointment with my primary doctor to see what was wrong. She suggested that my symptoms sounded like a gallbladder issue so I was sent for an ultrasound. This test showed nothing wrong with my gallbladder, liver, or anything else in the area. However, the tech suggested I see a GI to see if there were problems with my intestines that the ultrasound didn't show...


    The GI was great and ordered a full round of testing including bloodwork, stool analysis and a colonoscopy. He initially thought I had a mild form of Crohn's Disease, but my bloodwork showed a high intolerance of gluten products. So, they ordered an upper endoscopy to accompany the colonoscopy and *tada* discovered I had celiac disease.


    All in all, it took almost 10 years from my initial migraine diagnosis to determine that I had celiac disease at the root of all these problems. I am so thankful that this diagnosis came through and I feel 100 times better than I used to. It's funny how you don't even notice how bad you are feeling until you take a step back and really look at the problem. I am forever thankful to my GI for running all the tests he did instead of just saying "You probably have IBS" and not run all the necessary tests.


Published On: April 29, 2011