I was always known growing up to have the rock stomach. I could eat anything that was super spicy, contained dairy, and nothing bothered my stomach.
Then, I had my first daughter and went through a very horrific labor, which landed me in ICU for 3 days. Shortly after, I started having severe stomachaches. I wrote it off because everyone always said your body is never the same after you have a baby.
As years went on, I experienced horrible bouts of diarrhea that would last from 24-48 hours and then disappear. I went to the doctor, but was told I had a virus or a parasite, prescribed an antibiotic, and off I went.
But the problems continued. I suffered stomach pains that would put me in the fetal position for hours. Then I would be fine from anywhere from a week to months, until the pain returned. In between the bouts of diarrhea, I had irregular bowels and severe bloating. I lived like this for 7 years thinking I had IBS.
Seven years after my first daughter was born, my husband and I started trying for our second. We tried and tried to no avail, so I visited my OB/GYN. He said there was no reason we should not be able to conceive, especially since we already had conceived a child together, so he suggested we keep trying.
About a year and a half into trying, I got pregnant! I was so excited, but then miscarried about a week after we found out. When I started miscarrying, I got horrible diarrhea. I was going 7-10 times a day for a week. I thought it was strange, but I was more focused on the sad experience I was going through.
When I got through the miscarriage, I was still having diarrhea 7-10 times a day. I was losing weight rapidly, so I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with IBS. I went to another doctor, who tested my stool for a parasite, but the results came up negative. I went to yet another doctor. He did a colonoscopy and said I had IBS.
At this point, all the doctors made me believe I was exaggerating something and it was all in my head. But I was so adamant; I kept telling my doctors “This is NOT IBS. There is something wrong with me.”
No one would listen or believe me.
About 2 months into the most severe bout of diarrhea I have ever had, I ended up talking to a client of mine who had celiac disease. She was having the same issues I was experiencing. I stopped her in the middle of her sentence. I could not believe what I was hearing; someone else was going through the same thing I was. She suggested I get tested for celiac as soon as possible.
I made an appointment with a previous doctor of mine who I trusted. He took me right in and said he would test me. He of course said he really didn’t think I had celiac disease, but ordered the blood test. He called me about a week later on St. Patrick’s Day 2008 and told me the test was positive. I was so bummed, yet so relieved to finally have the answers to what was wrong with me.
I went on a strict gluten-free diet, and 3 months later, our second daughter was conceived. She was born healthy on April 10, 2009.
I really wanted to share my story because I know if I did not try for another baby and suffer the miscarriage, I might have just lived undiagnosed. Having her really saved my health in the long run. I also hope sharing my story will bring up the infertility issues celiac disease can cause. For any women who are having trouble conceiving, ask your doctor about celiac disease. I know it was the furthest thing from my mind!
Good luck to all, and happy gluten-free eating!
Learn more about infertility issues associated with celiac disease: