Back in February 2015, I was suffering from a terrible throat bug. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it had lasted for approximately 3 weeks before I decided I should go to the clinic. I went to an urgent care clinic out of convenience and the PA decided to run a strep test. At this time I had no concerns, and after receiving a positive test result the doctor prescribed me antibiotics for the next 2-3 weeks (I don’t recall exactly how long it was).
To my chagrin, after the full run of antibiotics, I still had a scratchy throat. I decided I would just live with it and hope it eventually went away. Approximately one week later I began to have these unusual symptoms. Back pain, severe anxiety, and horrible headaches that made me feel like I was going to die. I continued to have these symptoms, on and off, for weeks, until finally reaching out to a medical professional. In fact, I reached out to several medical professionals, all who were dumbfounded that I believed something was wrong with me. They all had believed I was in perfect health with the exception of my mental health possibly being a problem. I saw a psychiatrist who considered offering me medication which I ultimately declined out of concern over the side effects. I did receive CBT which improved my life in other ways, but I still was dealing with pain and anxiety. This went on for months.
Finally, my mother, who has been diagnosed with celiac’s disease, (I have not, and before the run of antibiotics I never had an issue with gluten), recommended to me a gluten-free diet. At first, I thought the idea was silly. I couldn’t believe that just avoiding bread, pasta and things of that nature would have any great effect on me, but I tried it anyways out of a sense of desperation.
I was wrong. After about a week of being gluten-free, my symptoms subsided. My pain was no longer there. My anxiety virtually vanished. I felt better, but was still not convinced it was my gluten-free diet that made the difference. So what did I do? I tried eating gluten again. My symptoms came back, and I eventually started to try the gluten-free diet again. I bounced back-and-forth several times until finally realizing that if I wanted to be happy, pain-free, and not have anxiety, I would need to be consistent.
Since the end of 2015, I have been gluten-free and I have to say it works for me. It is my hypothesis that the cause of my symptoms – appearing seemingly out of nowhere at the age of 25 – had something to do with the antibiotics wreaking havoc on my gut bacteria.