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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Possible Celiac Disease?


 Carol59 - Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:52 pm

I am a 48-yr. old woman who has been diagnosed with all the typical stress-related disorders over the last 30 years: IBS, panic disorder, CFS, fibromyalgia. I have been a drinker my entire adult life and what would be considered a heavy drinker for probably the last 10 years (although, truthfully, since I was drinking wine and rarely, if ever, became intoxicated, I didn't think it was a problem.)

In any event, a few years ago I started having shortness of breath (mostly upon waking) which would then push me into a panic attack. I eventually had a pulmonary function test and an echocardiagram, both of which were fine. Tried several antidepressants again but nothing worked -- just the wine. In May of this year, I developed acid reflux. On occasion, I was also waking in the middle of the night with nausea. I was placed on Protonix 40 mg. 2x daily (which is more than most people take and is only helping about 85% of the time). I had an upper endoscopy and it was fine. In July I began having rectal/vaginal pressure on occasion and the nausea continued, also only on occasion. I saw my Gyn and he did a vaginal ultrasound which was normal. He thought the pressure may be from IBS and I am seeing a gastroenterologist again. I am scheduled for a colonoscopy, a right-quadrant ultrasound and HIDA scan but I'm very scared that I have seriously damaged my liver over the years. I have had regular bloodwork performed nearly every year with good results but the last one was 2 years ago. I'm also in perimenopause and read a lot of women's posts that they experience similar symptoms. Although I've had diarrhea all of my life, right now bowel movements are pretty normal. Also, I'm not experiencing appetite loss, don't have abdominal pain, jaundice or really anything else associated with liver disease.

The main problems remain nausea, acid reflux and on rare occasions, rectal pressure. I heard that Celiac disease can cause a lot of these issues. I was actually tested in 2001 and my results were negative but thought maybe I should be tested again. At times immediately after eating certain things like pancakes or pasta, especially when it's the first thing on my stomach, I feel weak and lightheaded. Anything that comes to mind? Thanks.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:09 am

User avatar Hi Carol59,

When you describe your symptoms, celiac disease is not the first thing that comes to mind. Having said that, we are learning that celiac disease is very, very common (perhaps even as common as 1 in 100 people) so being tested for it is a reasonable thing. There is a blood test for celiac that can help determine if it is present. The definitive way to make the diagnosis is by biopsy during endoscopy. If you were tested 2 years ago negative for it it is very unlikely that you now have it.

Seeing the GI specialist again is a good idea. I would recommend discussing all these symptoms again with him to see if any other evaluation is needed and what it may be.

As to the actual cause, unfortunately I can't be of much help to you. Nothing that I can think of really fits everything you are experiencing.

Best wishes.

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