If you are suffering from severe and chronic abdominal pain and bloating after meals, have excessive gas, or have large bulky stools that may have blood in them, you need to go to a doctor. While there are many causes for this set of symptoms including dysentery and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (which can only be treated with medications), it may be something called celiac sprue which is treated simply with a change in diet to a gluten free diet.
Celiac sprue is an allergic condition of the small bowel that causes inflammation and damage to the lining hindering absorption of nutrients. This is why you get the symptoms of malabsorption and intestinal damage (bleeding) described above. You may also have weight loss and suffer from dietary deficiencies like iron deficiency anemia and B12 deficiency neuropathies for example.
The substance that your body is allergic to turns out to be something called gluten that is a protein found in many of the grain products in a typical diet including wheat, rye, barley, etc. The bad thing is that this food product is found in so many things, the good thing is that the treatment for this condition is simple, change your diet. No meds with nasty side effects, no surgeries, no changes in activity, or other limitations. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that changing your diet and avoiding a common ingredient is just a walk in the park. But I am saying that this could be much worse than it is and that you can live a “normal” life despite this condition and the gluten free diet that you have to have.
So what about this diet? How much work is it? How much does it cost? What kind of affect will it have on my life? Well another positive thing to focus on is that you have a public health system that has made it easier on you if you have Celiac Sprue. They have made it mandatory for food producers to put labels on their food that show the ingredients and they have also made it a legitimate selling point to be gluten free. The other positive is that there are many similar products that will make staying gluten free easier in terms of acceptable substitute foods. There are helpful lists and recipe books and other resources that can make this process as close to a walk in the park as possible.
The other nice thing about the new diet is that it will have an almost immediate effect on the symptoms, for sure within one week of new diet initiation. The lining of your intestine takes a bit longer but will also return completely to normal. No more embarrassing bodily malfunctions, no more pain, and being able to enjoy meals again! Sounds nice doesn’t it?