Is it normal for tummy pains to continue for a while after going gluten free?

I am still waiting to find out if I am actually coeliac or not but in the meantime I wanted to see for myself if going gluten-free made any difference to my IBS-type symptoms that have taken hold since earlier this year.

I have not eaten gluten-containing foods for just over two weeks now and there were some immediate differences that I noticed such as stomach bloating going right down and diarrhoea almost disappearing overnight (which seems to have brought on its own problems i.e. now I've got piles . . . great!)

What hasn't changed though is the fact that I'm still getting abdominal pains - at the moment lower abdo pain/discomfort that radiates through to the back. It feels as though everything inside is very sore and tender. I was wondering if there was such a thing as withdrawal symptoms from gluten and wheat products or if it just means that it's probably something else that's been causing the aches and pains and not gluten . . . or is it too early to say?

Really interested to hear what people think - thank you!

12 Replies

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  • Hey Lucy Locket, well, it certainly sounds like you are having improvements from cutting out the gluten. From my own experience it can take several months for your body to feel well, that's not to say that you will be experiencing stomach pain and piles for the duration, it's more just your body re-adjusting to a whole new way of being and getting used to not having gluten, but equally repairing it's self. The levels of water and nutrients etc in your body will be changing. In time you will feel fab! If you are really worried then make sure you see your doctor :)

  • Thanks for the reassurance - I'm due to see the GP on Friday as I have chronic anaemia which is bad at the moment. I have also been recently diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome and from what I have been reading, there is a higher chance of having coeliac disease alongside Sjogrens (10-15% with the syndrome may also be coeliac) and in addition to this, damage to the intestinal glands and mucosal linings may also predispose to an intolerance of gluten and/or other foods.

  • Hey Lucy,

    I've read through all the other comments and it sounds like you are being quite grounded about it all and are paying good attention to your bodies reactions to foods.

    It's definately wise to cut out any foods that may worry you. if you can cook then I would highly recommend making as much of your food from scratch as possible and avoiding anything processed. I find it makes me feel a lot better mentally because it puts me in control and I know I am eating safe food and food that is also good for me. It all helps to control the anxiety - which will pass.

    and don't forget, any time you feel stressed, post up in the forum, there will be someone else who understands what you are going through. :)

  • Many thanks for your support. I saw the GP last Friday and it seems that I'm not coeliac (I got a false negative on the blood test) but she does think I am probably wheat intolerant. She has prescribed me colofac to help with the IBS symptoms as well as the mini-pill to help combat my endo (which may be contributing to the abdominal symptoms). As you say, feeling in control does help a lot - I'm already feeling that I've started to be more in control of what is happening and that is certainly helping from a psychological perspective.

    Thank you! :)

  • It took a while for my stomach pains to go (I have been GF for 5 months now). I have been told it will likely take my gut a year or more to heal as I had had CD for so long.

    I have tried recently eliminating more foods from my diet including coffee - that was a big winner when I got rid of it, dairy (still take a little), GF biscuits, some GF breads. My stomach pains are very much better now - I would say almost completely gone.

  • Thanks there. I have also wondered if I need to identify other foods which may cause problems - I'm still using dairy but have cut back a bit and have also cut out coffee and cut back on tea, replacing it with chamomile to help all the anxiety and it's also supposed to be good for the digestive system allegedly!

  • hi i have gf 18months now and it took over 12months to feel well at first had foggy head a lot rough skin on hands witch have disapered but still have the ocasanal blip cut out coffie that made me ill good luck with it x

  • Thanks for your encouragement Barny. It sounds as though I've been expecting a bit too much, too soon really. The prospect of eventually feeling much better and being more in control of my health problems is a big incentive to keep on going.

  • yw and gl with evrey thing it is hard to adjust after so long like me was 67 lol so not bad realy xxx

  • Hi Lucylocket,

    I have Ataxia, but have always also had tummy problems, inc the dreaded piles,

    internal and external! I've been off and on a semi gluten free diet for years, but

    have never been tested for allergy by GP. A Homeopath and also a Classical

    Kinesiologist thought I had problems in general with Candida, because so many

    parts of my system were out of kilter. This can be misery. My daughter also

    suffers with all things associated with tummy trouble, and she has Eczema. I

    have been told that the 'extra pain' suffered when reducing gluten, is due to

    a condition referred to as 'die off'. This apparently is normal, and an indication

    that the process is working. Hard to bear in mind at the time! You know your

    own body best, seek reasurrance from your GP if you're really concerned.

    I hope you get relief soon.

  • Thanks WobblyBee . . . that is a really interesting idea that you have raised there about the 'die off'. I can certainly sympathise about the candidiasis - this can be systemic i.e. affect your whole body and can be a cause of intestinal pain and bloating as well. I had major problems with this some 14-15 years ago and had to completely detoxify the system to get rid of it (cut out yeast and sugars etc). It can take some time but is worth it long term. Hope you and your daughter manage to tackle your various aches and problems too! :)

  • All of this is inflammation...you stopped fueling the fire ....now the gut has to heal ...look at thedr.com great info ..also blood type diet...that is a good way to personalise your diet The different blood types have also got different sensitivities

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