I had my first child in 1983. Prior to getting pregnant, I'd been suffering from "IBS" for several months or more. The odd thing was – the “IBS” disappeared when I got pregnant. My energy and overall well being improved greatly. Years later, when looking back, I could pinpoint 4 very clear times in my life when this kind of sense of ‘well-being’ (and weight) increased to a more appropriate level: my late teens, my first 2 pregnancies, and finally, when I was diagnosed with celiac and went gluten free. I have wondered if there is some sort of “hormonal remission” of sorts (for a lack of my own medical answers or definitions).
I breastfed my new baby for nearly the first year. For months after quitting, however, the milk continued. Then came examples of the incredible waste of time, money, and unnecessary fears that come with tests to find ‘simple’ answers. I’m sure there were other symptoms I had, but …. that was a lonnng time ago. I do know I also struggled with anemia as far back as this. Blood tests for a pituitary tumor – or was it scans? Or was it both? I honestly can’t remember. But it did take some time and tests until ‘they’ (doctors) tested my thyroid and discovered I had hypothyroidism. A daily pill to level things – and the milk production stopped – and other things improved: sleep, dry skin, mood. (But there was still a lot lacking.)
Comments from doctors along the way suggested it ‘odd’ that I was so thin, as most with hypothyroidism have difficulty losing weight. But…I had many ‘odd’ medical things over the years. And of course, as I found out much later – all brought to that link labeled “undiagnosed celiac."
The years passed, other health issues arose, and the “IBS” returned with a vengeance,(which of course wasn't really IBS). Occasional tests of my thyroid continued to gradually call for an increase in my daily synthroid (thyroid medication). It was the handful of years prior to finally discovering celiac, when the osteoporosis was also a continued battle and concern, that my thyroid med had finally reached the maximum dosage – and I asked a question I'd asked a few times, “Could it be because I’m not absorbing properly?” And, as always, - blank stares. Between the thyroid concerns and the osteoporosis, yes, the whole “brain tumor” connection surfaced again – and yes, I went through more tests, scans and fears as I had been put through several years before. The time – the incredible waste of time – when just one simple blood test (followed by a simple upper endoscopy for an intestinal biopsy) would have provided the answers.
Guess what happened once I went gluten free? Not only did I amaze the doctors by gaining nearly 15% bone density in the first year, but my thyroid medication continuously needed to be decreased until finally cut in half – and now – even less than that. Was I not absorbing the medication? Was my “little voice” correct? Hell yes it was!
Celiac. “Simple” test. Gluten Free diet – Simple “cure." And yet – through the years (and years) of lack of proper tests and diet, 2 autoimmune diseases remain because they are not completely reversible: Osteoporosis and Hypothyroidism. And I hope – one day – to blog that these continue to improve.