gluten free - how long to feel some benefits

Hi all

I tried the gluten free diet for about 4 weeks earlier in the year, and didn’t feel any better. I gave up firstly because I didn’t feel any benefit and secondly because I was visiting family and didn’t want to be a pain with a difficult diet. I then decided to give it another go for a longer period of time and have been GF for about 3 or 4 weeks again, but still don’t feel any better. Lots of the stuff I read suggests you should start to feel some difference in a couple of weeks, so I’m just wondering if there’s any examples of anyone who’s gone gluten free and it’s taken them a lot longer to feel better? Will definitely stick with it for now, but would like to think that it’ll have some benefit at some stage.

5 Replies

  • Hoop_la, did you feel ill when you reintroduced gluten after 3-4 weeks g-f?

  • Wwell it does take 6 months to 2 years for the damage to your intestine to heal. But the severe, debilitating diarrhoea and cramps for me stopped within 48 hours

  • Have you had a test for celiac? It's best to do that before going gluten free. You can get them cheaply over the internet. I assume you already have an autoimmune disease - if you have a second one, you need to know. Not least because you should get your immediate relatives tested if so.

    Do you have any symptoms which you think could relate to gluten - gut symptoms or any of those you find on a celiac site? Gluten senstivity and celiac symptoms seem pretty similar.

    IF - and it's an if - you are gluten sensitive, the longer you've been eating it, the longer you will take to heal. I suspected for years I had some problem with gluten because I bloated in my early twenties if I drank beer or ate fish and chips. I tried a couple of times to come off it, but like you I found it too hard.

    Finally at c 50 I did the Atkin's diet very strictly for 6 months. When I ate my first biscuit after that I bloated up to a six month pregnancy. Same with barley. Same with rye.

    I didn't touch gluten knowingly for years and my body told me whenever I did. It took years before I realised my brain fog had gone. I'm still off, and always will be - now I can eat some gluten without bloating, but I know that just means my gut has finally healed a bit, and if I go back onto it it will be damaged again.

    My 18 year old daughter can't eat gluten either without stomach pain.

    Even if you go off it it won't necessarily solve all your problems - you have to take all the tacks out of your shoe before the foot stops hurting.

  • Hi hoop_la,

    It took me at least 4 months before I felt better, but what I found is the painful cramps stopped about 4-6 weeks after I went gluten free. Because, like you, I was still getting bloated and pains I cut out all processed food and gluten. So basically my diet for 2 weeks was fresh fish, some lean meat and a ton of fresh veg. I then started to reintroduce some foods back into my diet. I found soya and some grains to be the culprits as well as most cook-in sauces.

    I've been following this whole food approached for 6 months, it is hard work but definately worth it (mainly because I'm no longer awake at 3pm with severe pains in my stomach). What's more, I've even lost 1st.

    It's a long, slow process but hopefully you'll see and feel the long term benefits as I have. Good luck.

  • Hi all

    Thank you all so much for your replies. It’s such a help to have a forum where I can ask questions and get some advice/ideas.

    I’ve never really had any severe digestive symptoms which I’d associate with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease. The reason I’m trying gluten free is I have lots of other symptoms (brain fog, severe headaches, a general feeling of having a permanent hangover, which is slowly getting worse!) and a high Thyroid antibodies blood result (possible Hashimotos?), and someone on this forum suggested trying GF. I do get some mild digestive problems (constipation and bloating – the bloating has improved a bit since going GF). For a long time I’ve also had a general discomfort/mild pain, just below my ribs on the right side, which sometimes cramps if I bend down or twist. I thought this was my liver until my doctor told me the other day it was my bowel/intestines, which just makes me think that maybe I do have some intestinal problems. I am also constantly hungry which makes me think that maybe it’s cos I’m not absorbing the nutrients that I need, even though I eat a healthy diet.

    When I started eating gluten again after my initial attempt at going GF I think I did have one day where I had some stomach cramps, but it was a week or so after starting eating gluten again and was hard to work out if it was associated or not. I realise I should probably have asked the doc to test me for gluten intolerance before I started the GF diet, but like the rest of you progress with my GP is painfully slow, so I thought taking my health into my own hands is probably a better bet. As I said, I think I will stick with it for a while and am having a go at dairy free too to see if that helps.

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