It’s movie night at your house and everyone is craving pizza, even your gluten sensitive friend. You’re trying to propose alternatives, but no one is listening to you. It’s been like this for most of your life. You have a digestive disorder known as celiac disease, and ingesting any type of gluten could be fatal. Who knew that movie night paired with pizza could be so bad for you?
What Is Celiac Disease?
You actually wish you were only gluten sensitive or had a wheat allergy. In your case, your immune system doesn’t tolerate any foods that contain gluten, which is a protein found in rye, barley and wheat. So any foods like bread, pasta and the delicious cakes and cookies you once enjoyed are off the table – literally and figuratively.
What happens if you ignore your medical team’s recommendations and indulge in a slice of pizza? Since your body’s immune system doesn’t tolerate gluten, your small intestine can eventually suffer from long-term damage and trigger even more serious diseases.
It’s not only food you have to worry about – multiple skin and hair products, toothpastes, vitamins and makeup can also cause you harm.
Since autoimmune damage to the intestines can interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients from food, celiac disease may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Every person reacts differently to the condition, but typical symptoms include:
- Recurring bloating and pain
- Foul-smelling, fatty or discolored stool
- Weight loss
- Anemia (iron deficiency)
- Joint pain
- Fatigue and headaches
- Softening of bone (osteomalacia)
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis)
- Blistery, itchy skin rashes (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Mouth ulcers
- Damaged tooth enamel
- Injuries to the nervous system, which can lead to balance problems and cognitive impairment
- Numbness and tingling in extremities
Diagnosis and Treatment
Several diagnostic tests can help a medical team determine whether you have celiac disease. These tests include:
- A blood test to detect elevated levels of antibody proteins, which could indicate an immune reaction to gluten.
- A blood test to detect human leukocyte antigens through genetic testing, which can rule out celiac disease.
- An endoscopy, which will allow your physician to view your small intestine and take a tissue sample for biopsy.
It’s important to get proper treatment for your autoimmune disorder; otherwise, you may be at risk for even more serious conditions, including intestinal cancer, liver disease and lymphoma.
Treatment for celiac disease will include following a gluten free diet. Fortunately, many grocery stores have added gluten free products and foods to their shelves in recent years. “You may also wish to consult with a nutritionist or dietitian who specializes in treating individuals with celiac disease,” says acupuncturist Cholena Erickson. Some people report that following an anti-inflammatory diet, as well as eating plenty of fiber, minimizes their symptoms. Your medical team may recommend eating at regular times, avoiding large meals, never skipping breakfast and eating your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime.
If you continue having symptoms despite following a gluten free diet, your small intestine might be permanently damaged. If this is the case, you will need IV therapy to receive adequate nutrients.
Acupuncture Balanced Health Can Help Your Celiac Disease Symptoms
“By addressing inflammation in the intestines,” says Dr. Erickson, “acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine can help relieve the discomfort and pain that you are experiencing.” A 2011 clinical study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine shows a correlation between acupuncture and minimizing some of the symptoms of celiac disease.
Acupuncture Balanced Health provides comprehensive treatment for autoimmune disorders and gastrointestinal diseases. Our expert medical team uses evidence-based medicine to develop complete treatment plans that will alleviate all of your symptoms. We will also provide you with guidance on how to put together nutritious meals, as well as recommend the use of certain herbal supplements that can help with celiac disease. It’s important to seek treatment before your condition worsens, so contact us today to make an appointment.