Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Hi. I have recently been diagnosed with iron and vitamin b12 deficiency after feeling very tired and very down. Since then I am experiencing pains down both sides of my ribs and across the top of my tummy ( the ones in my tummy are really sharp). I also get a pain just under my left rib when I bend over like I've squashed something! . I have bouts of being very awake and then very tired. I suffer from depression and anxiety and can get very irritable for no reason. I can feel quite weak at times with pains up my arms if I use them to much (I assumed its tendinitis? ?).

I suffer from Vitiligo which is an autoiimmune disorder.

Does this sound like coeliac disease or something else? Your thoughts would be very much appreciated.

Thank you. x

9 Replies

hello and welcome,

it could be a lot of things including coeliac. B12 deficiency in itself can cause generalised pain. You really need a proper research from you GP. The fact that you have autoimmunine issue can sometimes mean you are more prone to others. If you have the iron and B12 replacements and then all the symptoms disapear then that is great, but would be helpful to know what caused them in the first place. I am not coeliac but i malabsorb and require iron, B12 and folic topups every so often.

The one thing that might be worth a try is some gaviscon for the left sided pain. THis is right where your stomach is (not your belly lol) and it might be a bit too much acid. Something that is always worth a try and not any harm is a wee drop gaviscon.

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I'm waiting for a bowel biopsy and am already on gaviscon with not much effect. I was just wondering what people thought as I am worrying a little. Thank you anyway for replying. Xx


its very difficult sometimes to find a cause, deficiency in many things can cause the symptoms you have, are you having the biopsy after having a blood test for coeliac or just as part of a variety of tests? its awful having such symptoms with no answer and often you just want someone to go "yup" thats it.

Depression and anxiety often go along with a variety of illnesses as well, not surprising really and very recently there has been some odd piece of research that depression is actually an allergic reaction to something.

Anyway hope something gets sorted out for you soon, remember that pain itself is tiring


Hi there, I'd ask your GP about an IgE blood test to see if you are likely to have CD and see what they have to say about the cause of your anaemia, if you are given an iron tonic it is worth taking folic acid at the same time as folic acid helps our bodies absorb iron. It could also be a good idea to have a vitamin and mineral supplement as low vitamin D is often associated with anaemia and many coeliac suffer from low vitamin D.

It is also worth bearing in mind that stress is very bad for our bodies and can cause an upset stomach and body cramps so try and tell yourself that they are on your case and will find the cause of your anaemia and try not to worry about it. Being anaemic will make anyone feel low and tired so don't give yourself a hard time over not feeling well as it is a symptom of anaemia.

So just take it one step and one day at a time without worrying about tomorrow as you can't help having anaemia and are doing all the right things.

And I hope that you start to feel better real soon.

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Hi KathC

I would echo the other answers - and suggest that you ask your GP for a coeliac blood test (if you haven't done this already!). You say you're waiting for a bowel biopsy - is that going to be a camera up or camera down procedure?

Anaemia (both iron and B12) can be a symptom of coeliac disease, as can anxiety and depression; but as I'm sure you already know, neither are exclusively caused by the condition.

Unfortunately the symptoms of pain you're having with your arms, ribs and stomach are not something I'm familiar with. However ailsamary's suggestion that could be linked to B12 deficiency sounds like a plausible idea to me; but I'd still want to get it checked out properly - if I was in your situation.

Re: Gaviscon - Personally I would stay away from it unless it has been prescribed by a doctor. It's good stuff - but only if it's used for the right reasons.

I'm a Coeliac. On diagnosis I was mildly B12 deficient, vitamin D deficient, lactose intolerant and suffering from depression (amongst a number of other things).

Please don't do what I did - I failed to go to my GP for such a long time about how tired and crappy I was feeling. In hindsight, that was a really stupid thing to do!

Take care


Thank you for your help and ideas. I have been poorly for about a year and a half now but out our down to stressful personal circumstances that have happened. The Gaviscon has been prescribed by my Gp so I need to stay on that til my tests are complete. My 'camera job' is going to be down because they want to check my stomach too.

The hospital requested two lots of blood one being something called 'parital' or something like that and ttg???

I know I'm doing the right things but these things never happen quick enough.

I've had a very painful weekend so I'm taking myself to the docs tomorrow to see what else they can do. They may hurry up the tests! X


Sorry. I meant to ask how you are feeling now you're gluten free? Did you find it difficult to get used to? I've been looking at the things I eat just in case and it's in nearly everything! it is gluten then it'll be a big lifestyle change for me. Xx


Hi KathC,

My diagnosis was just over two years ago now. It's been a slow road back to health, but compared to how I was, I'm so, so much better.

When the GP first ordered the tTg (tissue transglutaminase) test, I didn't think too much about it - because I thought I probably just a bit anaemic and stressed out. Once the tTG test (ie coeliac blood test) came back as positive, initially it was quite a shock. However the more I read up about it, the more it made sense; and it also explained a number of seemingly isolated issues going right back into my early childhood. In hindsight and by my reckoning, it only took about 33 years for me to be diagnosed with Coeliac Disease!

In the end, I was almost glad to go gluten-free, because I knew it was the means to start feeling (and getting) better. In the weeks between the blood test and the endoscopy, I made my peace with many gluten containing foods. Donuts, Maltesers, chunky KitKat's, proper crumpets, Pearl barley etc were all on that list...!

I went gluten-free the day after my endoscopy (ie after the final tests had been done), which was around 10 days before my diagnosis was confirmed. Rather than have this 'new' diet imposed on me, it became my choice to go gluten free and helped me feel more in control of my life. I still don't regret doing that - because when I saw the dietician, I was also able to ask questions that I felt were much more relevant to my situation.

The GF diet does take some getting your head around at first though. Eating out is definitely the worst part for me. So much so, that I've not had a pub meal since my diagnosis. However that's partly because I'm also a veggie who is dairy and soya intolerant. Knowing who to trust is a big problem. If I get it wrong (and I have done), I'm usually on the loo doubled over in serious pain by the time the desert course arrives. So I've found that you do need to have understanding friends - who are willing to go out for a drink instead...! (staying off the beer though!).

Good luck with the tests.



Because you have so much pain I'd seriously ask for a colonoscopy - 'camera up' test as well as the endoscopy. Your colon goes much higher than you'd imagine. Not all gut pains are solved by going gluten free.


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