My daughter, Little C, wasn't happy when she was a newborn. In fact, she didn't poop for a 4 week stretch (weeks 2-6). Almost every day during those 4 weeks we would see a little trace of poop in her diapers (a teeny orange streak) and we kept assuming the next diaper would be a blow out. But it didn't happen.
After another visit to the doctor at 6 weeks old, we got on a schedule of sorts. We were giving Little C suppositories every 7 days - forcing her to have a bowel movement. We also gave her a ton of probiotics several times each day. Prior to the doctor visit, we'd used a lot of gripe water and gas drops and continued using gripe water as it at least helped calm her down. Her tummy was distended and she screamed and screamed. We actually named it "Scrying" because it was a scream/cry combo (loud and annoying too).
Long night after long night and several doctor appointments later, I eliminated gluten, dairy, chocolate and coffee from my diet. The switch to remove all these items right around Thanksgiving time was difficult, but my diligence paid off when Little C's disposition changed and she started having bowel movements naturally (oh, and she started sleeping a bit, that was nice). I was feeling pretty good too - I took up running and was actually enjoying it!
About 4 months after removing gluten, I made a plea to my doctor and she told me I could try gluten again in hopes that Little C had outgrown her sensitivity. I missed those pumpkin scones from Starbucks and was dying to have a treat! I hadn't expected it, but gluten proved not only a problem for Little C, but for me as well.
After I had gluten I became extremely lethargic. Then, a couple of days later, I experienced severe intestinal cramping. The pains brought me completely out of my seat writhing in pain. I gave birth without the mask of drugs and honestly, the pains I experienced after ingesting gluten were comparable to the extremely difficult contractions I had during the end of labor (the part where I thought I was going to die). They were severe and I cried over them at times. The pain would shoot down to my anus (sorry, I hate that word... just writing the facts). I didn't leave the house for a few days - I felt horrible. My poor husband felt helpless as there wasn't much he could do to help. The pain woke me up in the middle of the night and happened off and on throughout the days. I became constipated. Extremely constipated. My brain function slowed and my vision was fuzzy. My skin was sensitive. It felt like my whole body was bruised. My joints felt weak and I became extremely grouchy. I. was. so. tired.
It took my body about 2 weeks to recover.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance are VERY common.
I slowly began to realize that my life long 'weighted limb' feeling was not actually normal. My weak immune system was probably in part, due to gluten. My extremely low iron levels during pregnancy (which required weekly injections in addition to 6 horse-sized pills/day and lots of spinach eating) were not just a fluke, I was not able to absorb iron properly due to my gluten intolerance. My frequent, heavy flow periods were more than likely due to my gluten issues (this one is still being evaluated as I'm still pretty new to 'gluten free' and the cycle has only just kicked back up since weaning my youngest).
I've always been gluten intolerant - I just didn't know it.
Discoveries I made by going gluten-free:
- I don't actually hate running as I'd wholeheartedly believed all my life. In fact, now that I have energy, I love it!
- My disposition is much brighter day in and day out.
- My foggy head cleared up and my vision, though not perfect, is much better.
- My baby knows how to do something other than scream! (I think this is my favorite discovery - screaming babies are not very cool.)
It's so freeing to know the source of my life long aches and pains - and to have an answer.
Celiac Disease Facts & Figures | NFCA
Do you have a gluten intolerance? Do you have symptoms like I described, but have not been diagnosed? Talk to your doctor! If you don't have a Naturopathic doctor, I highly recommend you get one - they will take time to listen to you and are more inclined to look at what's going on with your body and help you a more natural way (natural remedies first, drugs last).
My gluten intolerance discovery changed my life for the best, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have and would love to hear your story - please share!