Living with coeliac diseaseI'd always suffered from dull, gripy stomach aches, particularly after a meal. But they didn't really affect my life until my last year at university, when my weight plummeted from 8st 12lb, to 7st, in six months. At 5ft 8in, I was seriously underweight.
My collarbones stuck out and my arms were like matchsticks, but my stomach was bloated. I was also very tired and pale. My GP diagnosed anaemia, and gave me iron tablets. Soon, even size 8 clothes were hanging off me and I was constantly shattered. My GP doubled the dose of iron tablets, but it didn't really help. Then I started passing blood in my stools. I was very worried.
My GP referred me for tests, including an endoscopy and colonoscopy. The tests came back clear, but they showed up that I had coeliac disease (CD). I started on a gluten-free diet straight away, and soon felt so much better. Now I feel fit and healthy, and my bloated stomach has gone.
The main foods I have to avoid are bread, biscuits, cakes and pasta, and I steer clear of processed foods. My weight has slowly crept up and I'm now a healthy 8st 12lb. For anyone with coeliac disease, I'd say life is a lot easier once your pain and other symptoms have gone.'
Anthea Morris, 29, Farnham, Surrey
For more information and advice, visit www.coeliac.co.uk.