My symptoms began when I was a child. I was always terribly bloated and constipated, going maybe every 5 days. Once in a while I had diarrhea. This continued into my teens and twenties.
When I began menstruating at about 14 years old, I immediately had awful cramps that got worse year after year. Doctors put me on birth control pills to try to lessen my menstruation, but they didn't work for long. Sometimes my periods lasted 20 days.
When I was in college, I spent a week waking up in the middle of the night throwing up. During the day I had terrible GI pain. A doctor wrongly thought it was a stomach ulcer.
A year later, I had diarrhea every day for months. I lost 30 pounds and experienced panic attacks constantly. One doctor wrongly thought I had a parasite, while another wanted me to take anxiety and depression drugs.
My last year of college, my menstruating problems peaked and I was rushed to the ER. My period almost never stopped. The cramps were worse than ever. Years of symptoms pointed to endometriosis. All of the adult women in my family had been diagnosed with endo, and all had hysterectomies.
A year after graduating college, I was married. Afraid of not being able to have children, my husband and I decided to try to have children right away. Six months later, I was pregnant with our first. Our second baby was also conceived after 6 months of trying.
Both pregnancies were very unpleasant. I was horribly hungry, and I never felt satisfied after I ate, so I ate more and more. During both pregnancies, I gained a startling 60 lbs. I was depressed and tired all the time, being so overweight. And, I was more bloated and constipated than ever.
It wasn't until our children began having reactions to foods that I eventually found out I was celiac. Our first born was tested at age 2, and found to have gluten and dairy intolerance. I remained in denial for 2 more years before taking the stool and genetic tests myself.
Since I was diagnosed celiac, I have been regular every day. I'm no longer bloated or in pain. When I eliminated dairy (in addition to gluten), my endometriosis went away, and I never had cramps or long periods again.
Almost 10 years after getting pregnant with our first, we conceived our third child in the first month we tried! I am now 5 ½ months pregnant, and I feel amazing. When I eat, I feel satisfied and nourished. I've gained about 10 pounds so far, and if I were to gain another 20 pounds in the last 3 months, that would be half what I gained with my first two!
I'm so grateful for my health since being diagnosed, and I never feel deprived. We eat better food now than we ever did before!