Everyone with Celiac is sensitive to gluten. I see many posts of people saying that they are “very sensitive” to cross contamination. I’m not sure what this means – does this mean they are “more” celiac than me because I’m not that way? Nope.
These “very sensitive” individuals may have some other things going on that is completely unrelated. Here is my take….
“Omg – when I eat stuff just goes right through me – I can’t eat anything.” If you’ve ever been with a baby, commonly, they poop either during a meal or right after. This is a well documented phenomenon called the gastrocolic reflex. Most of the time adults grow out of it but occasionally it returns. It is commonly associated with diarrhea predominant IBS and is perfectly normal. Furthermore, it takes between 45-90 minutes for food to pass through the stomach. So, food is not traversing your entire digestive tract in under 30 minutes.
“I get Celiac symptoms when I walk through a bakery or even the bread section of the supermarket.” This one is really hard for me to believe. In order for a Celiac reaction, you would have to ingest the gluten. Now, if you inhale airborne flour, the flour will get coated with mucous and delivered to your stomach. Kind of like hay fever and post-nasal drip. As discussed above, it takes 45-90 minutes before hitting the digestive tract, thus causing a celiac reaction. Now, some people say they get a headache or migraine, but I do not think those are related to Celiac. It could be something else.
“I ate something, I know it was gluten free, but I’m having a celiac reaction.” This one is my favorite. Celiac reactions can start anywhere from 60 minutes to days after exposure depending on how your body works. It could be an IBS type reaction. It could be a reaction from something eaten hours before. It could be something completely unrelated. If you truly have been gluten free for the last 48 hours, then it is something else. By truly gluten free I mean whole foods, not eating out, and no alcohol.
The bottom line is – we are all super sensitive to gluten and you are not better or sicker by saying that you are “super sensitive”. We all have terrible reactions, except the silent Celiacs and they are a sturdy, special breed. We all avoid cross contamination at all costs and are all trying to get by in this gluten covered world. So, I see these things and want to have a gluten reaction. 😉 (that’s a joke.)
One thought on “Not everything is Celiac related”
I get both typical and atypical symptoms of celiac with even small amounts of cross contamination at restaurants where others with celiac say they feel fine eating. Am I super sensitive? Are they asymptomatic? Whatever you want to call it, my symptoms are severe and unmistakable–vomiting, joint pain, neuropathy, migraine, pregnant belly, severe abdominal pain, dizziness, and blistering skin.
There is a continuum of severity of symptoms and level of sensitivity. Yes, the absence of a reaction does not mean damage isn’t happening, and we all have the same celiac. However, I’m not able to eat out, and I have gotten full-on glutened from just sitting in a pizza place breathing it all in. My restrictions in order to stay functional greatly affect my day to day life–call it whatever you want because it doesn’t change my reality.
A little more compassion is needed from our community for those like me who have very severe reactions to trace gluten. My symptoms aren’t imagined, and they are extremely difficult and debilitating. To give you some perspective, I have never missed a day of work for symptoms of stage IV endometriosis, which has rendered me infertile and required two very complex surgeries. I’ll likely need another because it tends to grow back. Yet, CELIAC is what’s taken me down.
My point is, we with celiac struggle to be believed by the general public. Skepticism from our own community is even more hurtful. If you don’t like the term “super sensitive” then let’s come up with another one because I need a way to describe what this is like for me.