When Gluten-Free Is a Gut Feeling

Another reader, Meg, shares her non-diagnosed but very real experience as someone “who is non-celiac but has benefited from a gluten-free diet”:

I think we enjoy sharing our stories because it is so incredulous to even us that an innocent cereal grain we enjoyed our whole lives could be the root of so much trouble. We wonder how we ourselves could be unobjectionably afflicted by a gluten intolerance at the same time the “gluten-free movement” is gaining so much traction. Yet the evidence is there. We don’t have answers, but we know it to be true.

For me, it started with a series of gradual and strange ailments at age 34: pancreatitis; shooting pains in my hands and feet and other joint pain; and finally, trigeminal neuralgia. This last one was the worst pain imaginable, like a searing frozen knife jabbing my left temple, cheekbone, teeth, and ear.

I sought doctors for each issue and each validated my pain [CB note: Here’s a contrasting series of reader stories], but they could find no underlying issue. It was a nightmare for me, and confusing and scary for my husband. Before all of this, I didn’t even have a primary care doctor. Within months, I had a half-dozen specialists and a clinical therapist.

The breakthrough came when I googled all of my symptoms together in one search. What resulted, a dozen times over, was not celiac disease (which hadn’t yet occurred to me) but MS. This was actually a relief—a matter-of-fact explanation for all of my symptoms.