May 1st marks the beginning of Celiac Awareness Month. But that’s not the only thing it signifies. May is when minds drift in earnest to thoughts of pool parties, summer festivals, and backyard barbeques. But if you’re suffering from celiac disease, those sticky ribs and even stickier Louisiana days may put you at higher risk for a celiac flare.
Here are four ways to combat a celiac symptom flare this summer:
Rehydration: If you’ve spent any amount of time in Louisiana during the peak of the humid summer, you know how important it is to replenish the nutrients and fluids exhausted by sweat.
During a celiac flare, diarrhea and vomiting can drain the body of essential fluids and electrolytes rapidly and with dire results. Consider upping your fluid intake from the standard 8 glasses of water a day and talk to your doctor about electrolyte replacement solutions.
Lactose Management: Step away from the ice cream! Lactase is an enzyme in the stomach lining that breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose for the body to use. Celiac flares can thwart the stomach lining’s ability to absorb important vitamins and nutrients—especially iron, which can manifest as iron-deficiency anemia.
When the stomach lining is compromised, the lactase enzymes cannot do their job properly, which can result in temporary lactose intolerance. If symptoms of your celiac disease are beginning to flare up—such as gas, cramps, or diarrhea—converting temporarily to a lactose-free diet may prevent any worsening of the symptoms. Talk to your doctor about other forms of calcium and lactose-free dairy.
Vitamin Supplements: On that note, it can be difficult to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs, especially when following a gluten- and lactose-free diet. Celiac-induced malabsorption commonly affects such nutrients as fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, folate, riboflavin, etc. Talk to your doctor about a vitamin supplement plan that fits your needs.
Regular Consultation: Most importantly, regular consultations with a celiac specialist can help prevent celiac flare-ups, manage symptoms, and give you the tools you need to live a healthy, gluten-free life. The digestive specialists at Gastroenterology Associates have the experience to help you manage your celiac lifestyle. Call today and set up a consultation.