How long until the bloat goes away?


For many years I've had IBS, and right now I'm trying to work out what triggers it. I'm lactose intolerant too, fun fun! So gluten is my first port of call since a large portion of people with IBS seem to either turn out to be coeliac or gluten sensitive. My main symptoms are bloating and constipation, which has led to the feeling of lethargy. (I also suffer with acid reflux, PCOS, and awfully achy shoulders but as far as I know these are totally separate conditions.)

Today is day three, and it's not going too badly, but if anything I feel worse! Absolutely cannot go to the loo, although my tummy bloat seems to be less than usual.

For those of you who have gone gluten free - when did the bloated feeling go away? Was it straight off once you stopped eating gluten, or was it a more gradual process? Just don't want to be barking up the wrong tree and be depriving myself of freshly baked bread if I don't have to! =)

Also, I know constipation is quite normal for many people who adopt gluten free or go low carb, but how long does that take to regulate itself?

(If the gluten free thing does work I will go to my doctor, but it's hard to get time off work at the moment. And yes, I know to be tested for coeliac you have to have been eating gluten for 6 weeks - I'm ok with that.)

5 Replies

  • Hi. If it is gluten that is the problem, you could feel worse before feeling better. When we stop all gluten, our bodies can sort of go through a dumping of toxins, so to speak. Hard to explain. Also, you need to be eating lots of fresh veggies for fiber and that should help the constipation. If you are truly Celiac, it can take months or longer for the gut to heal. Overnight results aren't the norm, sad to say. It is often better to get checked then just to go gluten free because if you don't need to be off gluten, it is an extremely difficult diet to maintain. Low thyroid can cause that constipation. Have you had that checked?

  • Going back on the gluten after coming off isn't that easy. If you do have a gluten problem, your body is so delighted that once off, it becomes ultra sensitive and going back on for 6 weeks is not pleasant. Very best is to have the blood test now while the gluten is still in your system. Now for the bloated/constipation. I'm not a doctor and we're all different but here's the experience of 3 generations: My mother was the only one in the family officially diagnosed coeliac. My daughter had chronic constipation and 7 or more years of every test you can think of (including coeliac blood test) through her childhood. In desperation, I just took her off wheat as an experiment. Within two weeks, she was no longer constipated and visibly healthier. Even all her clinicians were astounded. However at the time, nobody suggested getting her to go back onto wheat for testing. Three years ago, my symptoms were the diahorrea variety, aching joints etc. I was between doctors, so just took myself off wheat just to see. Again, I noticed the difference within 2 weeks. I had to go back on the gluten for a blood test, which was negative. With my history, my consultant wanted me to go back on again for a biopsy but I could not see any reason why as whether I was coeliac or simply high wheat intolerance, the treatment was to be strictly gluten free. Since nothing could induce me to knowingly eat gluten, it seemed a bit pointless. But looking back, had I known, it would have been good to get the test before 'giving it a go'. In practice, being gluten free is becoming easier all the time with a lot more general awareness. Certainly, you can soon learn when it comes to cooking at home. It's going out that's more problematic but follow this forum and ask the right questions and it's all do-able. On the plus side - certainly for me: I no longer spend my life in the loo, no longer have embarrassing 'urgent situations', no more stomach cramps, no more painful joints, clearer skin, flatter belly, more energy.

  • Hi NikkiJayne

    Your probably not going to like me saying this but the best time to go to the doctors is NOW! You need to find out now if you have a medically recognised problem with gluten. The others are right in saying that if you wait and go back on it, it'll only be worse for you.

    Many doctors do very early and very late appointment so you can fit them around work commitments. Most employers would expect their employees to look after their health needs properly. So what are you waiting for? Stop avoiding the issue and go! It's great that you have an awareness of the gluten-free diet but you're doing it backwards - you do need to get the blood test FIRST. Your antibody markers will be at the highest right now if you're a gluten sensitive and for every day you're not eating gluten, they will drop - potentially screwing up the results of the test.

    Lethargy can very definitely be a sign of gluten sensitivity. No employer wants a to have lethargic employees (because they're obviously less productive!); so tell them your dog died, or your house has exploded - or anything allows you to make that appointment today!

    Take care.

  • Hi NikkiJayne. I totally agree with the others that you should get tested now. I went gf a few years back and I decided to get tested a few weeks later. The GP thought it was ok for the blood test and the result was negative. I asked for a biopsy regardless and the gastroenterologist said 2 slices of bread a day for 2 weeks before - the biopsy was negative. The current advice is 6 weeks of gluten in each meal and I will forever wonder if my test would have been positive had I not started the diet before.

    I've been gf (again) for about 5 months and I am gradually eliminating other foods that cause me issues. I've had huge relief from many digestive symptoms after removing gluten and codex wheat etc. I'm having to remove some foods from my diet and I'm able to eat others that I couldn't before. If you decide to continue with gf it will probably be a long process of your gut and body adjusting and you learning what you can tolerate. I'm starting to feel great and I'm definitely sticking with it. I've just learnt I've got thyroid antibodies so gluten has likely been causing damage not nonly to my digestive system.

  • Hi there. I'm new here and not quite up to speed. But I do have some advice. The main is quite simple as in going to the DR. It sounds like you have several issues that may be a factor in your symptoms. A gluten free diet may be good or as you have IBS I would actually suggest talking to your Dr about a low FODMAP diet. For current bloating in the here and now I'd suggest either peppermint tea, camomile tea or peppermint oil capsules (mintec)

    These may give you temporary relief, but it is still best to see your Dr.

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