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Q. How to convince my husband about my gluten-free diet?

Answered by
Dr. Sadaf Mustafa
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 22, 2016 and last reviewed on: Oct 05, 2020

Hi doctor,

I have been having abdominal and thoracic pain for the past 16 years. I do like to describe the pain as irritation, burning, feeling like eating sandpaper; constant pulse to puff and burp, acid reflux and fire in my breast and stomach. I used tons of medications for years, such as proton pump inhibitors, antacids, etc. It is a constant and continuous problem. I tried every natural supplement for stomach, acid reflux, gut health and healing. I raised my bed, but nothing really worked.

Around seven years ago, I was tested for Celiac disease, but all tests came back negative. I never considered gluten as being a problem for me. Until, out of desperation and pain, a year ago I tried anyway to go off gluten. After a week, I had my life back. I could not believe it. All the symptoms were completely gone. After some time, the symptoms came back and then by recalling the events, I realized that I had made a mistake. On some evenings my pains were back. Finally, when analyzing what I did, I realized I started taking a nutritional supplement in a powder form. I checked the label and it said that manufactured in a facility that also processes gluten. Also, I had a beer. I forgot about the barley in that moment and got sick again. When I started buying the whole roasted chicken, my symptoms were back. There was no gluten containing ingredients on the label, so I did not pay much of attention. Finally, I got to know that the spices have traces of gluten. It is relevant to know that I did not like the taste and I had no time to cook or to heat it, so I used to remove the skin completely, and rinse the chicken pieces thoroughly under the hot running tap water using a strainer until the flesh was completely white and then, I eat. I ate some cashews and was sick again. The label stated that the facility also processes wheat.I got graduated in Food Science Technology with honors last year. I am a quality assurance manager in a food industry. I have an academic education, training, and work experience in both the fields involved in the topic of gluten and allergens in general. Also, I aware of the topic from the point of view of the human body, health, nutrition, immune system and antigen interaction, nutritional sciences, nutritional related gastroenterology, clinical nutrition, from the point of view of the food itself, its substrates, components, chemistry, etc. In spite of all these things, when I eat together with my husband, it is often an argument and absurd things happen. For example, that it is my invention that I should not share the same tools, especially if they are made of wood, etc. When I say it is my background they answer that I think I know everything. It is not everything, but it is my job.

I have no words and I am speechless that how can someone with a business background tell to a dietitian and food technician that you are totally wrong or what you say has no chemical basis. He is expressing a sure judgement in a subject totally different from his job and that is totally related to mine. I am astonished. Please, I would really appreciate it if you could say something; I hope he will at least believe to what you say. I would be grateful if you could help me to clarify a misunderstanding that is going on at home. Because, many times a kind of tension develops when we eat together.

Dr. Sadaf Mustafa

General Medicine Internal Medicine
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the excellent history and sharing your background as a dietitian really helped.

  • First of all, as you might now, the celiac disease cannot be proved by chemical basis. You can very well have a negative serology with biopsy proven celiac disease.
  • The investigation of choice for celiac disease is colonoscopy with biopsy showing crypt villus distortion and atrophy with inflammatory infiltrate.
  • I absolutely agree with your decision by using gluten-free diet as there are various degrees of insensitivity. You may be miserable with slight contamination, something similar to lactose intolerance.
  • I will encourage you to continue your efforts for yourself, but also see a gastroenterologist. You would need a regular colonoscopy since you carry a risk for colon cancer.
  • The most interesting part is that the disease process (inflammation and villus atrophy) reverses when the gluten-free diet is used for a long time. I am not even sure if your colon biopsy will show the active disease, but you need it for colon cancer screening.
  • Regarding your husband; if you want I can speak to him on your behalf, if that would make you feel comfortable. Or you see a GI specialist first, explain the situation to him and your history like the way you did here and then take your husband with you to the next visit.
  • We will hope this will at least give him a peace of mind. Remember that he loves you and he does not want you to be sick in any way; maybe he is compensating by saying all these things to you.

For further information consult an internal medicine physician online -->https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician


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