Almost my entire father’s side had been diagnosed with celiac disease when I was in high school, but when I took a blood test it came back negative. About six years later, when i was in college, I began to feel like something wasn’t right with my body. While I had stomach problems, those were not even what was most concerning to me. I had this terrible very itchy rash all over my body, and I would have panic attacks too often. There were days when I felt very upset or anxious without really being able to explain why. My family and I decided it was time to go to a GI doctor to test one more time for celiac disease. It was unbelievable to me that it was so prevalent on my father’s side of the family, but the tests for my sisters and I all came back negative. It was then that this particular doctor connected the dots for me. He asked if I had brittle nails, which I did because I bit them; if my hair fell out, which it did because I have thin hair; if I got canker sores; which I did sometimes because I eat spicy food and if I was ever iron deficient, which I had been on and off my entire life. The doctor explained that all of these things which could seem commonplace for most people are also symptoms of celiac disease, and after giving me an endoscopy he diagnosed me with it.
Now that I have stopped eating gluten I feel worlds better. All of my original symptoms have gone away – I don’t feel the unexplainable anxiety, my nails grow a lot faster, my hair doesn’t fall out in the huge amounts that it used to, that horrible rash has gone away, I haven’t been anemic in years and my stomach is way more settled. I can immediately tell if I have accidentally eaten gluten because one or more of these symptoms will return. Other than those rare instances I am overall feeling so much better now that I started abiding by the gluten-free diet.