Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is it Fibromyalgia, CFS or Gluten sensitivity ?

The symptoms of fibromyalgia, from  the Mayo ClinicAbout Health, CDC and Johns Hopkins include:
  • Widespread Body pain
  • Fatigue
  • Chest Pain
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Depression
  • Dizziness 
  • Impaired coordination
  • Muscle Twitching
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Numbness and Tingling Sensations (Peripheral Neuropathy) in the hands and feet
  • Brain Fog 
  • Morning Stiffness
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Skin Problems
  • Joint Disorder
  • Urinary Problems
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Nausea
  • Memory Loss
  • Vision Problems
  • Weight Gain
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Cognitive problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called "fibro fog")
  • Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called "fibro fog")                                  
  • Sensitivity to temperature, light, and noise                                                                        
  • TMJ syndrome                                                                                                                   
  • Morning stiffness                                                                                                               
  • Urinary problems

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms just from the CDC website and Mayo Clinic alone include:
  • Problems with sleep
  • Difficulties with memory and concentration
  • Persistent muscle pain
  • Joint pain (without redness or swelling)
  • Tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
  • Sore throat
  • Brain fog (feeling like you're in a mental fog)
  • Difficulty maintaining an upright position, dizziness, balance problems or fainting
  • Allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications, or noise
  • Irritable bowel
  • Chills and night sweats
  • Visual disturbances (sensitivity to light, blurring, eye pain)
  • Depression or mood problems (irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks)
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpit
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
  • Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

Now, lets look at the symptoms of Gluten intolerance or sensitivity from any number of sources:
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  •  Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.
  •  Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms).
  •  Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
  •  Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
  •  Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
  •  Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
  •  Headaches and migraines
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
  • Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings 
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Anemia
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat
  • Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis
You can clearly see an overlap in a multitude of symptoms. Can anyone be clear when you look at it this way? Even a doctor? 
Of course there are some who may have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism, or any number of other things.. when in fact its a Gluten sensitivity. 
If only there were a doctor who suggested they go gluten free for 60 days they may be able to find that out.

You cannot get tested for Fibromyalgia as a general rule, (although there are some suggestions that you may in fact be able to). You can read that here and here.

But you can get tested for a wheat allergy, or even a sensitivity
After scouring the internet I have yet to find actual statistics on the misdiagnosis rates of Fibromyalgia. We do know for a fact a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is commonly overlooked  because some physicians  are not familiar with the disorder, and because it can can mimic symptoms of other conditions. These include rheumatoid arthritisosteoarthritis,Hashimotos Lyme diseaselupus, and somatoform disorder, and even chronic back pain.

The best thing to do is eliminate gluten and see if this helps with your symptoms. If it helps a lot as it has with some people it does not necessarily mean you do not have Fibromyalgia, or CFS. It could just be that the gluten is causing your symptoms to be worse. 
If you are thinking about going gluten free here are some good points of reference. 

The Gluten-Free Diet Cheat-Sheet: How to Go G-Free
9 Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-Free

The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gluten and Fibromyalgia Pain

Well, a question that gets asked a lot on my fb page is if going gluten free helps fibro symptoms. There are no rules. For some, yes absolutely it does. For others, not at all. So your best bet is to try being very strict when eliminating gluten and also anything that can be potentially cross reactive) for a period of  60 days just to see what happens. 
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Spelt
  • Polish Wheat
  • Oats (2 different cultivars)
  • Buckwheat
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Potato
  • Hemp
  • Teff
  • Soy
  • Milk (Alpha-Casein, Beta-Casein, Casomorphin, Butyrophilin, Whey Protein and whole milk)
  • Chocolate
  • Yeast
  • Coffee (instant, latte, espresso, imported)
  • Sesame
  • Tapioca (a.k.a. cassava or yucca)
  • Eggs
While not all people with gluten sensitivities will also be sensitive to all of these foods, they should be highlighted as high risk for stimulating the immune system.

Gluten sensitivity is NOT a wheat allergy. Some people are gluten sensitive or intolerant without having Celiac disease. And not know it because traditional gluten intolerance blood testing looks for only one of SIX polypeptides in wheat, (gliadin). There are FIVE others: wheat germ agglutinin, glteomorphin, glteuinin, prodynorphin and omega gliadin. Any one or combination of these can cause a reaction. Evidence started to show years ago that gluten can promote inflammation even without having an allergy or sensitivity.  

For those people  gluten may cause symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and bloating, irritability and sudden, irrational mood swings. There can be issues such as abdominal cramping, painful or frequent gas, constipation and diarrhea. Also there may be neurological issues including dizziness, difficulty balancing, pain, weakness and tingling or numbness in the extremities.

If these symptoms lessen or some are even eliminated after removing gluten you may have a sensitivity. Your Fibromyalgia and pain symptoms may feel better in general simply because you have less of any or all of the above mentioned symptoms. That does not mean that going gluten free cures Fibromyalgia, but it can certainly effect the severity of your symptoms. 

For some who have given it a honest shot and truly saw no change, reduction in any severity of symptoms, well gluten free is just not the answer. But rest assured there are many other diets out there to try, all proving for some to be very beneficial. Some even say life changing. 

I myself tried gluten free and felt no difference in my pain levels, or much of anything else for that matter. But when I reintroduced it I had severe bloating, constipation and gas immediately. I felt full, heavy and uncomfortable. Without even realizing it there was a difference. And after feeling NOT bloated and crampy...then I noticed. 
So while there is still no real relief directly as far as Fibromyalgia goes, I can now say my GI/IBS issues are not a result of or just "another" symptom of the Fibromyalgia, or CFS or anything else. So I stay gluten free for that. (SSSHHH) Except when I am confronted with the BEST onion rings I have ever had, ever.  Those I will get crampy for and thank heaven what I have in NOT an allergy.
No I am not proud of it

One good thing if you have to or choose to go gluten free is that there are many more options available to you than there were years ago. I still remember when gf was new to me (seems like forever ago) there were very little items on the shelf and what products were there all tasted like "cardboard". And that was real. It all tasted like cardboard. Now years later we have websites, blogs, restaurants and food companies all realizing there is money ..ah hem..I mean to say... they are realizing there is a  NEED. They have stepped up their game and come up with better tasting products, more products, and in more locations. 
The internet, blogs and Pinterest have tons of recipes all your fingertips so you don't have to eat cardboard! 
You can even find gluten free beer! Wait. WHAT!! 

You just need to do a little research, read a lot of labels and enjoy this next step to finding new food, better health and hopefully fewer aches and pains!!