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My Story: Sjogren's and the Gut

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Debilitating stomach pain and gross gut related pain was one of my first symptoms of Sjogren's.

I was diagnosed with Sjogren's at the age of 28, back in 2013. But I started having gut issues when I was 20.

With several years under my belt since then, I am no stranger to the lifestyle of chronic illness.

As with most people with auto-immune diseases my symptoms and health issues started rearing its head years before an official diagnosis came my way.

I still remember my first breakdown vividly.

I had just graduated college and had my first "grown up job" aka a well paying monday-friday desk job in an Alberta oil and gas company.

Within 6 months of working I was having so many issues with my health, I had a hard time getting up to go to work everyday, and while I was at work I spent most of my time in the washroom, either dealing with uncomfortable GI issues, or crying from the shear amount of pain I was in.

One day, I was in so much pain, I left the office to go home sick from work.

I made it to my company foyer where I broke down crying.

I was in so much abdominal pain.

I called the only superhero in my life who I thought might be able to take the pain away - my mom.

She listened to me cry, and calmed me down, and re-assured me that days would get better.

The conversation was short but helped me get through the rest of the day.

In the months and years following this break down, I had another rock by my side helping me figure out the inevitable roller coaster I have been on with my health, my (now) husband Marc.

Back then we had only been dating for 6 months, but he stuck next to me and helped me figure out my pain.

In fact, he was the first person to look me dead in the eyes and say "you're not normal, go to a doctor"

This statement was a punch in the gut at the time, but ended up being exactly what I needed.

I went through several years of trying to figure out my GI issues.

I had constipation and diarrhea, blood in my stools, nausea every time I ate and massive abdominal pain every single day. Sound familiar?

Often times I would have difficulty walking from one room to another without holding my stomach, crying and falling to the floor from the pain.

I struggled with getting out the house, let alone finding a family doctor.

I went to several walk in clinics in the following months, without any relief.

I finally landed myself in a doctors office that was willing to take me on as a patient, and this doctor sent me for additional tests.

If you've ever had GI issues, you know that those 'additional tests' aren't pleasant.

One was a barium swallow which included drinking a nasty drink which makes your belly swell up like a balloon - this test was to check for ulcers in the stomach lining.

The second test was an endoscopy where they take a camera and put it up your bum to look at the lining of your large intestine, they often take a biopsy while they are up there to test for celiac disease. Yeah... not fun.

In my case, these tests didn't find anything substantial and so I was sent home after all of it with a diagnosis of IBS - which is short for irritable bowel syndrome.

After doing a bit of research a the time, I actually thought this diagnosis was BS.

It seemed that there was no standard diet protocol, every body reacted differently to different foods, and the medical doctor could offer no advice on diet changes for me - which seemed fairly problematic given that my issues were in my gut!

I went through several years of struggling to find foods the didn't give me pain, and I didn't end up finding relief until I came across an IgG food allergy test that a naturopathic doctor told me about.

I signed up for the IgG food allergy test, which was a simple blood test, and it completely changed my life!

I found out that I am severely sensitive to dairy and highly sensitive to gluten. (Which is very common for rheumatic autoimmune disease patients)

Within a few weeks of making adjustments to my diet, I was noticing an improvement of symptoms.

I came across this study the other day which outlines the correlation between Sjogren's syndrome and hypersensitivity to foods. You can find that study here.

It's no surprise to me that Sjogren's and food sensitivities are connected given my past.

What about you?

Have you experienced something similar?

If you are struggling with GI issues and can't find answers, I highly suggest you look at getting a IgG Food Sensitivity test.

You can learn more about the test and you can order one directly through Rocky Mountain Analytical here.

Alternatively, you may also be able to order the tests through your naturopathic doctor.

This is beneficial if you have workplace benefits that cover naturopathic doctors - the costs of your test may be covered, or partially covered.

I hope that in sharing my story and the above resources it may help you in finding answers and a path to healing.

Health and Happiness,

Heather 💜

If you are new to my website be sure to check out my blog here.

If you are newly diagnosed with Sjogren's be sure to check out my webpage here.

If you want to learn more about Sjogren's be sure to check out this webpage.

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