Hannah’s diagnosis story

12 April 2021

Hannah’s diagnosis story

Misdiagnosed with IBS…

Hi, I am Hannah and I am 25 years old. I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in January 2017 so for around 4 years now, however, I had been ill since 2011! I would have an upset stomach pretty much every single day in school. When I had my first part time job I was only doing 4 hour shifts, however, as soon as I got home I would have to take a nap for a few hours as I was exhausted. I suffered badly with bloating, skin rashes and every time I would go to the doctors they would tell me it was IBS. I tried medication for IBS but the problems I were having were still there.

Finally! A diagnosis of coeliac disease was confirmed

Eventually my sister went to the doctors and was suspected to have coeliac disease (it turned out she didn’t but this helped me get my diagnosis). As coeliac disease can be genetic, I went to the doctors and asked for a test so after having my bloods done and an endoscopy it was confirmed I had coeliac disease.

I remember feeling happy that I finally knew was what wrong with me, however, very nervous and upset as I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat my favourite foods again although I know now this isn’t true! I remember going to Asda looking at the free from range feeling so confused. I remember getting a Juvela and Glutafin hamper to give me a good idea of the different foods I could eat. After reading some books, following others on social media who suffer with coeliac disease and the help of coeliac UK I started to feel more comfortable with a gluten free diet.

Eating out was the biggest challenge initially…

The most challenging thing for me was going out for meals with friends and family. I used to get scared to ask them about gluten free options and ask about cross contamination so I would get my friends to ask for me. I felt like I was a bit of a burden and a pain asking although now I will ask away – the more restaurants I can eat at the better! I also struggled and still do now eating on the go! When I lived in the West Midlands there were not a lot of eat on the go options in the towns. If I went shopping with my partner he could grab a sandwich or a sausage roll from Greg’s etc and I would always struggle to pick something up so I make sure I’m prepared by taking my own sandwich or snacks from home etc. I have just moved areas in recent weeks so hoping I can find more choices when places open up again.

Hannah’s top tips to someone who has just been diagnosed with coeliac disease

The three top tips I would give someone are always look in reduced sections in supermarkets. I tend to get reduced gluten free bread and freeze it, this saves me money and it lasts longer. The second tip is if you live in a household where you’re the only one gluten free (like me) label things as gluten free to prevent cross contamination. For example, I label my butter gluten free so the rest of the family know not to use it. The third tip is to not look at going gluten free as a bad thing. I understand it’s a struggle at first as it takes some getting used to, I’ve been there, but now after researching lots of gluten free recipes and creating my own recipes I am able to cook almost anything that I fancy and the best part is people don’t even realise it’s gluten free!

Below are some pictures of one of my favourite meals – gluten free fajitas! And some of my favourite gluten free creations.

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