How I discovered my gluten allergy

October 13th, 2007

My symptoms seemed to pop up out of nowhere one day: fatigue, headaches, swollen glands, sore throat (especially in the morning), and that “flu-like” feeling. I kept feeling like I was on the verge of getting the flu, but it would never quite come. Running errands became a huge chore because I always needed to rest.

Doctors tested me for everything under the sun – diabetes, anemia, mono, parasites, B12 deficiency, protein deficiency – all to no avail. They finally diagnosed me with “fatigue of unknown origin” and sent me on my way.

Unwilling to give up my active life at the age of 29, I searched and searched on Google for any answers about my symptoms and finally found information about gluten intolerance. It just seemed to fit. So I decided to give up all gluten for 2 weeks to test the theory. I started to feel great again. 2 weeks later, with no symptoms, I ate a big gluteny cookie and my symptoms returned. Just to solidify that it wasn’t a coincidence, I gave up gluten for another 3 weeks, again with no symptoms, and then spent 3 days eating all kinds of gluten-filled food. I felt like I was going to die. And so it was that I determined, on my own, that I am allergic to gluten.

I’ve fallen off the gluten-free wagon many times since then, all with the same result. It can’t possibly be a coincidence at this point. I’ve been entirely gluten-free for 2 years and I won’t eat it again. With so many gluten-free products on the market now, it really isn’t that tough to manage.

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10 Responses to “How I discovered my gluten allergy”

  1. callum Says:

    Thanks for the story! My doctor kept telling me that my horror 6 months of sore throats and swollen glands, temperatures and not-quite flus would be very atypical presentation of gluten intolerance or celiacs. But after going gluten free last November, i have slowly been improving…until this week and an ill-researched choice to bake (and eat) a batch of oatmeal cookies on Sunday. Tuesday I was in bed all day totally exhausted, swollen neck glands, sore throat, return of the tongue ulcers and every afternoon have crashed out in bed from four to six. I have only now started finding stories like this on the internet, so I guess I need to stick with the diet and maybe try the cookie effect out again in another few months.

  2. vegangirl Says:

    Thank you, Callum, for your story! I’m glad that you were able to solve your health problems. It puzzles me why more doctors don’t know about these gluten allergy symptoms. I still find myself having to defend my claim that I am gluten-intolerant, despite 3-1/2 years of repeated personal experience and clear evidence.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    Wow! Great story! I took an IGG allergy test last November through my naturopath and discovered that I was allergic to gluten, dairy, eggs, kidney beans, pinto beans, almonds and peanuts. And I thought I was doing well incorporating beans into my diet!

    When I eliminated these foods from my diet, I stopped catching colds. Even though I would typically get sick, right after stressful times at work, and sleep deprivation- I didn’t.

    I also cheated (don’t tell anyone), and felt so sick, and started to catch a cold.

    The way the naturopath explained it to me, was that since I elminated the foods that were “stressing” my body, my body was able to focus on fighting those colds/viruses that I was coming in contact with. It wasn’t week from dealing with all of those foods.

    My goal is to find some gluten, almond and egg free desserts that taste good, to satisfy my sweet tooth. The recipes and products I have tried so far have only been about a 6/10. I would welcome any recipes or websites to link in to!

  4. Melissa Says:

    Thanks!!! for posting this. I’m a healthy, fit 60-yr old woman. About 6 weeks ago, my facialist/nutritionist suggested I try a 10-day cleanse, just to see how good I might feel So I eliminated (well, mostly, not all) potential allergens from my diet: gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sugar. I felt great! So I went back to my regular diet and started noticing that odd sore throat and the feeling that I was about to catch a cold … it was a familiar feeling, and in the past I had always associated it with being overworked and tired. I started wondering if it had anything to do with the gluten because it seemed to spike after a pasta salad lunch. And I looked on the net to see if I could find any connection between gluten intolerance or sensitivity and sore throats. Nothing – until your posting.

    Your description of your symptoms match my own experience! So, thank you! I’m now going to eliminate gluten again for two weeks and see if I don’t feel better – this chronic sore throat is the pits!

  5. Missy Says:

    I just found your post while searching for the random health issues I’ve had throughout the years. I’m going to try to go gluten free for a week or two and see how I feel. Hopefully this will work! Fingers crossed :)

  6. Simone Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I googled “sore throat gluten” and this came up. You have described exactly what I am going through. I have no doubt it is the gluten. So here I am seven years later reading your post lol and I really think I have the answer. Thanks again.

  7. Amy Says:

    I am so glad to read this. I went no-grain, no-sugar for several months just to lose a little weight (10 lbs), (never had any diet related problems, age 53). It worked beautifully. Then I attended a 90th birthday celebration/visit to another state which involved several birthday cakes, two too-good-to-pass-up dinner rolls, etc. I woke the first morning after with bad headache and that about-to-vomit feeling. Few days later started a 32-day bout with sore throat, headaches, and post nasal drip. . One round of antibiotics, a mono test, three strep tests, every time the Doc said “can’t be gluten, must be something else” I would eat wheat again. (I figured my weight was ok, so why not?) I finally googled ” sore throat gluten” and found this. Long story short, I eliminated wheat again, and it went away after two days. Five days later, I still felt awesome. Then I had corn chowder at a restaurant( they even told me it had gluten…had to try it and see. Guess I’m stubborn.). Sore throat came back. 24 hours later, it is still with me. I am sure it will be gone tomorrow, and I intend to go back on my grain-free no-sugar (Primal) diet. Thanks for being here!

  8. Jane Says:

    Hi All,

    This is a reply to Jen’s request for gluten free dessert:

    http://www.californiaavocado.com/recipe-details/view/31696/chocolate-avocado-pudding-with-coconut-milk

    This was sooo good – you would never know it is made with avocado! Even my pickiest boys loved it. I doubled the recipe, except the maple syrup, and it was just perfect for my taste. I made it with all organic ingredients and served it with homemade whipped cream, sweetened with a little raw honey and a splash of vanilla. Yum!

    Thanks all, for the info – I just connected the dots myself, in regard to the swollen glands. I fell off the gluten free wagon quite a while ago, but plan to get back on ASAP! It just hit me today, that maybe I should do a search – and here you were! ????????????????????????????????????

  9. Mary Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I have the same symptoms that Vegangirl and many others have described. The flu-like achyness, the sore throat/glands on the left side, post nasal drip, runny nose, and sinus headaches. I’ve tried gluten free but only half heartedly so I will give it a shot. Thank you for your posts, I think my family and friends (and doctors) think I’m crazy when I complain from time to time about these symptoms. No one seems to take them seriously. Thanks again…I will let you know how I feel in a couple of weeks.

  10. Susan Says:

    Hi, I am so glad I found this site! Like Amy I keep trying to reintroduce gluten but always get the flu like symptoms with the ever persistent sore throat.
    Mary your symptom list is identical to mine the only difference is other foods seem to ignite the sore throat and sinus drainage like rice, almonds and beans too. Does anyone else have this issue? The reason I ask is because many gluten free products are made with brown and white rice flour and the thought of never being able to eat multiple food items again is daunting!

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