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Old 11-27-2011, 05:27 AM   #1
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Severe gut problem - looking for input!

Hi everyone. This forum is so helpful for so many things. My husband has something very frightening going on. A couple months ago he was in the emergency room, and then spent a day in the hospital and the "traditional" doctors couldn't find what was wrong. Of course they ruled out a lot of "traditional" things which I suppose is good. But he continues to have these attacks and they are bad!! Here is what happens....

He can feel an attack coming on. He will get pain in his abdominal area, and become nauseous. He will start dripping sweat. A mild attack will end here - leaving him with these symptoms that are very uncomfortable for maybe a couple of hours.

A full on attack is much worse. It starts like that with the abdominal pain, profuse sweating and nausea. He pain will continue to get worse and worse - the kind of gut pain where he cant' get comfortable sitting up, lying down, on his tummy, back or side - just writhing. The prescription pain med from the doctors barely helps. The nausea is continuous - actual puking and then dry heaves. This whole progression, peak, and then feeling better takes over 24 hours.

He has been a rolaids eater for a zillion years. He was a huge milk drinker (easily a gallon a day ) for years. (then the rolaids) He LOVES his dairy. But he realized after the first attack / trip to the emergency room / hospitalization that dairy seemed to trigger all this stuff. Even very small amounts of dairy, and even "lactose free mild" would trigger the mild version of all this. (which makes me suspect he has a problem with the milk proteins in addition to the mild sugars?)

So he cut out dairy completely. Yesterday he had a major attack which he is only now starting to recovery from.

I have been wondering if all of this is broader than just a dairy thing (it sure seems to be). Gluten intolerance? IBS? Leaky gut?

I'm just wondering if any of your knowledgeable folks have any good ideas, informative web links, etc.

Since the "traditional doctors" didn't even go down the path of "what did you eat?" (they were looking for kidney stones, etc.) I'm thinking he needs to see a NP or specialist. Any thoughts there?

I'm hoping to convince him of the need for a very clean gluten free/dairy free diet until we get this sorted out....is that a good idea? Other suggestions?

I've never seen anything like this - it's so severe and scary. (especially when the doctors have been useless so far!)

Thanks,
DG
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:16 PM   #2
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Hmm - while I wouldn't want to diagnose anything, I do know a LOT of people with celiac disease and/or gluten intolerance are also very reactive to milk. That's why you will see a lot of recipes that are gluten free & casein free.

If it were me, I'd start keeping a careful log of what he eats and when - ALL of it, including medications, so you can look for patterns. I'd also cut all dairy, wheat and gluten out of his diet.

If the traditional docs are unwilling to help and you can see a NP, I'd go for it. But, in my experience, the best thing you can do is look for patterns yourself and research like mad in addition to seeing the doctors. You may see a pattern yourself and/or provide valuable data to the doctors too.

You'll be surprised how many people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance were not diagnosed by a doctor but by friends/reading/experimentation first.

I have celiac disease and this sounds similar to my reaction to getting glutened but I throw up for about 3 days off and on.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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Gallbladder maybe?

Gallbladder problems can manifest themselves in very different ways. I had severe cramping/stabbing pain, but my mom never had pain, just nausea and vomiting every time she bent over.
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:52 AM   #4
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Thank you both SO much for your ideas and suggestions. Usually he is so stubborn about any dietary suggestions. When he avoided dairy and things were better for a while, I think he thought it was dialed in. This last round really scared him.

Maura LOL I was reading the internet like a mad woman all day yesterday!! I saw the suggestion about a food diary and was wondering if he would really do it. I think he was so miserable and scared that he's willing to do anything right now. I noticed a food log on the counter this morning. And he is willing to try to go without wheat/gluten and see what happens.

Now I have to learn what to feed him!!! He is such a sandwich guy and a salty snacks guy. This will be hard for him. Do you have any web sites your recommend for good info, shopping lists, etc.?

Gina - that is a good suggestion for us to keep the gallbladder in mind. A couple months ago when he was in the emergency room / hospital, that is something they looked at and ruled out. I don't know anything about gallbladder problems though. Is it the type of thing where it can be a problem but the doctors miss it?

Thank you so much~!!!!!

DG
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:06 AM   #5
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DG- In terms of gall bladder problems, it's not so much that the doctors 'miss it' as sometimes there is no known cause. About 10 years ago, I began having severe gall bladder attacks (if I ate too much fat). The pain was excruciating and mainly in my back in the shoulder area, although I also had pain and tenderness in the gall bladder region.

I went to my GI who confirmed that it was gall bladder, but every test showed no stones or any malfunction. Once I wound up in the ER with a severe attack, and they repeated the tests and could find nothing.

I researched it on the internet, and I discovered that sometimes people can have gall bladder 'attacks' without any apparent reason. Surgeons won't remove it if it appears healthy, so that wasn't an option for me.

My GI told me that he'd known patients with a similar problem and if eating low fat kept the attacks away, that's what I should do. And I haven't had an attack since that time. I went almost no fat, and then gradually added of little here and there. Today I probably eat moderate fat, but it hasn't been a problem with my low carb eating at all.

I'm not saying this is his gall bladder, but I wanted you to know that it's possible to have a 'problem' despite negative tests.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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Doggygirl,

The food diary is a great place to start. Even if you can't figure out root cause but CAN figure out triggers, avoiding those triggers can help - be it some sort of food intolerance, gallbladder issues, etc.

The easiest way to find info on gluten-free is to google "celiac disease". There are a lot of sites that give good information on how to identify gluten-containing foods, what to avoid and possible substitutes. I know there are rules about links so I don't want to violate those
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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I have seen recommendations for grain free, dairy free and legume free on paleo websites and celiac websites because of cross reactivity with those proteins. You can make sandwiches with romaine lettuce leaves instead of bread.

Hopefully he will discover the cause of his troubles and feel better soon.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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Thanks Leo for the additional insights into the gallbladder possibility. Yikes - how frustrating!

Maura - thanks for the googling tips. I will give that a try!

girondet - the mourning process over the farewell to bread is going to be very long and very sad I'm afraid......

(although the food diary on the counter is really an unbelievable step so maybe anything is possible!!)

DG
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:17 PM   #9
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Hi everyone. Since you were kind enough to give so many great suggestions and ideas, I thought I would come back with an update.

My husband is still faithfully journaling everything he puts in his mouth, which is amazing all by itself. That really tells me exactly how miserable he has been with these gut issues!

He has avoided all dairy and gluten for several days now. He told me last night that he didn't know how bad his digestive system really was until now - when it feels better. He must have been in low grade misery all the time - and then there were the horrible screaming pain episodes!

Anyway...I think he is convinced that gluten free is the way to go and stay. It will be up to him to help me help him in the kitchen!

Thanks again! I'm sure I will be back with more questions!

DG
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:17 PM   #10
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I'm so glad he's feeling better!

I had a similar reaction when I suddenly realized that this NEW me was "normal" and my prior periodic misery, etc wasn't something I was just stuck with forever.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:38 PM   #11
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I'm glad that he's feeling better.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:33 PM   #12
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Thank you for your kind wishes!! I will pass them along. He is very appreciative of your help!

He decided to "test the waters" with some lactaid milk this weekend. Guess what happened? I thought he was crazy to even try it and said so, but I have my own demons and I know I have had to "test the waters" until I was drowning before finally accepting the truth!

I will say that the dairy reaction was far less intense and long lasting than in the past, so we are both convinced that gluten is also a player in this thing. He feels good when he watches what he consumes, so we know a lot more today (with your help!!) than we did a week ago!

Thanks,

DG
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:41 PM   #13
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It also could be a urinary tract infection -- lots of the same symptoms. Usually requires microscopic inspection. If you have a really bad infection, the urine is cloudy if held up to the light. Of course that is only possible to see in a cup.

This is fairly unusual in men. Generally older men.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:05 AM   #14
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Thanks Scottie for your input! I would imagine they tested for infections, etc. when he was in the emergency room??? (I guess it's never safe to assume anything!!!!)

He is continuing to feel good so long as he doesn't eat gluten or dairy!

He said something really funny the other night. One of our clients owns grocery stores, and he had to visit that client at the store. (normally I do most of the grocery shopping) He walked past the dairy section and said he nearly cried! I can't imagine feeling that way over food, however I am a recovering alcohol dependent person, and I recall feeling that way about wine in the grocery store several years ago!

I guess I will keep doing all the shopping for a while!

DG
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:21 PM   #15
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go gluten, sugar and diary free
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:48 AM   #16
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Hi. I just wanted to say that when my father was diagnosed with celiac many years ago, he did have a reaction to milk and he assumed it was a milk allergy. What he was told that when his celiac is so severe, milk also bothers him and it is common to come off as a milk allergy. BUT when he started eating gluten free for a few months, he could start putting dairy back into his diet. He now has cream or milk with his coffee, eats ice cream, things like that and it doesn't bother him. So, there is still hope for your husband. I think he should give it a few months and then try the milk.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:04 AM   #17
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I'm so glad he is better. I lived with horrible stomach/digestive problems for many years and saw doctor after doctor. Most have no clue about gluten I'm much better after going G-free. If he likes salty snacks, you might mention to him about sunflower seeds. They are very satisfying! Always double check for hidden ingredients that might contain gluten though. I think you might run into problems with them when you buy the bbq or ranch kind. I just get the regular salty ones
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:41 PM   #18
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Just to add- we just found a great website with breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes- dairy and gluten free- Each one I've tried is awesome- didn't even need to tweak anything- just google- once a month mom.-lots and lots of ideas.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:26 AM   #19
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I recommend reading the book "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. I bought the Kindle version for around $9. He goes into detail about the effects modern wheat has on our bodies, and gives details and several recipes for going gluten-free. Some of your husband's symptoms sound like what he talks about in his book.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:00 AM   #20
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If his gallbladder has been checked, then I'd say to definitely keep eliminating wheat, dairy, and high glycemic carbs.

I also give a big thumbs up to Wheat Belly. I hadn't eaten wheat for over a year, and it was still an eye opener for me.

Almond flour is low in carbs and gluten free. You can make him "bread" with it. Try the Elana's Pantry (I think that's right) website for recipes. Or search for "almond flour cookbook." Many of her recipes are also dairy free.

Last edited by LowCarbRachel; 01-06-2012 at 09:01 AM..
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:53 AM   #21
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How's your husband doing, by the way?

(another recommend for Wheat Belly here).
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