If anyone could help me or point me to a more appropriate board, I'd appreciate it.
I think I am gluten intolerant and would like to hear people's opinions and/or stories.
I don't have abdominal pains after eating, but for the past 6 months have had chronic fatigue. I exercise a lot but in January ate more gluten-foods without changing my caloric intake and have gained 8 lbs (in less than 1 month!!). I am european (heard it is more common with Europeans); I had bad allergies as a kid, and still have some allergies, and had bad eczema as a child; my period after 11 years of being spot-on regular, is no irregular. my hands shake all the time to the point where sometimes i can't write legibly, but my thyroid, blood-work and hormones come back regular (i heard gluten-intolerant people are usually malnourished maybe thats why). These are all symptoms I believe, but since I don't have abdominal pains I'm wondering if it can still be gluten intolerance.
There are some discussions of gluten intolerance or celiac disease on the Digestive Disorders Board and the Nutritional Disorders Board, and maybe a few other places.
I discovered celiac disease when I was trying to find out why I was having severe acid indigestion. When I started a gluten-free diet, it took about 6 months for the symptoms to completely go away, although I felt much better within a few days.
Some sources which I have read, including in the book "Dangerous Grains" by James Braly, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A., claim that gluten affects so many systems in the body that just about any disease can be caused by gluten, and therefore cured by eating a gluten-free diet. Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I do believe that in susceptible individuals, gluten can affect many aspects of our health.
My suggestion is to try a gluten-free diet for a couple of months, and see how you feel. As long as you eat unprocessed foods (that is, do your own cooking from scratch) and read labels very carefully, it's not that difficult a diet to follow. I have been able to discover several foods that I would never have tried if I had not changed my diet. Wheat is too easy to use (gluten is soooo useful) and it's in so many processed foods, that in the beginning it can seem difficult to figure how to live without it. But I have tried several of the recommended alternative "grains" such as buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet, corn, rice, potato, etc. and decided which ones I like and which ones I would rather not eat. I eat a much more varied diet now than I did before I switched to a gluten-free one.
The tests for gluten-intolerance often only catch the most severe cases. My tests came back negative. But I always have problems again when I eat gluten. So even though I have not been "officially" diagnosed, I consider myself gluten-intolerant, and I eat accordingly.
This condition can show up later in life, even though it is considered to be genetically determined. In my case, it became impossible to ignore after I moved from America to Germany, and looked for local flours to make my bread with. The flour in Germany is higher in gluten than flour in America is, and I think that it finally tipped my sensitivities "over the edge" so to speak.
Good luck on finding out a way to re-balance your body.