Monday, March 8, 2010

So it's IBS....

I saw a Gastroenterologist so I could rule out anything sinister going on that might explain my bowel symptoms. He ran blood and stool tests that came back normal. Low for one of the B vitamins (I can't remember which, not B12, he said that was fine), but still within the normal range (just). I refused to undergo invasive tests and given the good bloodwork, he didn't push it. His diagnosis is IBS.

The only anomaly that worries him is my calcium. It's low (outside the normal range) -- only just in my opinion, but apparently that's significant. He's running another test for that.

To celebrate the IBS diagnosis (yes, I know I'm strange), I went out with the girls on Friday lunch to a Chinese dumpling restaurant. The company was great, as was the atmosphere and value for money but the dumplings didn't quite come up to scratch. The ones I'd tried to make for myself tasted better, even though they looked worse and had questionable texture.

This wasn't my first wheat (gluten) containing meal, but it was the most deliberate one. I told the gastroenterologist that I'm gluten free. In hindsight, I'm not. I eat a 'normal' wheat containing meal at least once a month and some of my grain choices (like buckwheat and quinoa) are labelled as possibly containing gluten. 

The only obvious and immediate symptom to come out of the wheat-based meal was bloating.But what about anxiety?

It's 2:30am on Monday morning. Today is a public holiday, thankfully, because I can't sleep. I've read over half of a book, browsed news websites and facebook, worked on my wellness journal template, chased mosquitoes around the house and I'm still wired.

I'm tired, but I feel on edge, worried and anxious about something and yet nothing. Last week I blamed the alcohol and I gave that up. I haven't drunk anything this week yet I'm feeling the same way. Oh, and let's not mention the irrational rage incident a little earlier. *blush* It's all okay, no people or animals were injured, but like the storm that hit melbourne yesterday, the anger came out of nowhere. Fortunatley it quickly disappeared, unlike the storm.

Could this be because of the dumplings?  This site suggests it might be:

A wheat or gluten intolerance can be difficult to diagnose. As it is such a common food the body adapts to coping with it, hiding the intolerance. Some of the symptoms which a wheat or gluten intolerance produces are: aches and stiffness, depression and mood swings, anxiety, asthma, fatigue/tiredness, sneezing, runny eyes, runny nose, nausea, bloating, stomach cramps, sweating, sore/itchy throat, skin rashes, swollen stomach. .
Depression and anxiety are singled out:

Intolerance to specific foods can often cause depression and anxiety. Sometimes the depressive effect of a food may be accumulative rather than immediate. Sometimes the food may be eaten in moderation without causing any symptoms but accumulation intake of the food may cause onset of depression and anxiety and often also fatigue. In other people the depressive effect may be immediate. Wheat is particularly known for producing this effect.


Realistically, those symptoms can be caused by other things. The only way to know for sure is to keep a food diary. Em is going to help me. I've bestowed upon her the right to nag and belittle me into updating it every day. Until then, I'm going back gluten free. This not sleeping and feeling anxious sucks. And it's not just because of the mosquitoes, though they didn't help.