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Gluten-Free but Still Getting Sick

Depending on where you are in your recovery, you will continue to struggle for months even up to 1-2 years after your diagnosis for a variety of different reasons. These are 5 reasons you might still get sick after removing gluten from your diet:

  • You are probably still eating or using products containing gluten. Not by a fault of yours (or maybe so) but you are still getting used to eating gluten-free. This is a process. You can’t cut gluten like you would peanuts so it is much more difficult to avoid in the beginning. Don’t beat yourself up over it! Each time you get sick is a new learning experience. Even people who have been gluten-free for years struggle with hidden gluten at times. Maltodextrin seems to be the ingredient that I miss on labels all the time!
  • Your body is healing. Remember you likely have gone many years with undiagnosed problems associated with gluten and so just by eliminating it is the first part, you need to take the time to allow your body to get back to normal. It has to heal itself and adjust to a whole new (healthy) way of living. You might need to have your blood levels checked to be sure your deficiencies are being covered with supplements.
  • There are other things you are reacting to that once you eliminate gluten you will realize, like lactose. It is very common for celiac to hide other food intolerance or allergies so be careful when blaming getting sick on gluten, it could in fact come from something else.
  • You could have another bowel disease-causing the distress. If eating a dedicate gluten-free diet doesn’t help your stomach symptoms, then you definitely should go back to the doctor and be tested for other diseases like colitis, Chron’s or other bowel disorders.
  • You could have another auto-immune disease-causing problems. For instance, I was suffering from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and endometriosis. It took a whole year to figure out all of those things and once they were all dealt with, I started to feel like a whole new person.

If you are eating a dedicated gluten-free diet and your symptoms are not improving, you should seek a doctor’s opinion as to why you aren’t getting better. Unfortunately, there is a small percentage of people who do not get better using a gluten-free lifestyle so it is imperative you seek medical attention.

Another concern with gluten-free is that you have to go cold turkey. Literally, there is no weaning process for gluten removal. You must stop eating it because you will never get better if you do not completely eliminate it from your diet. I’ve written another popular post about why cheating on celiac is a horrible idea, so if you are trying to eat just a little bit of gluten – it’s time to stop.