Peripheral Neuropathy and Celiac

I’m sure most of us experience a numbing and tingling sensation in the hands and feet at some point in life. Sometimes, it is the way we sleep that can cut off blood supply and cause our hands to go numb. Other times, sitting too long can cause pins and needles in your feet. There is a condition where this happens because of never damage, called Peripheral Neuropathy. Not everyone who has had numbness and tingling has nerve damage. There is, however, a link between nerve damage and celiac disease. This is one of the symptoms of celiac that isn’t talked about as much. I feel it is important to bring it to your attention, especially if you are someone suffering from this type of nerve damage. Although there are many causes of neuropathy, my article is specifically about its relationship with celiac disease.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

This is the easiest explanation to understand that I was able to find. According to the Mayo Clinic

“Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body.”

“Your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body. The peripheral nerves also send sensory information to the central nervous system.”

“People with peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning or tingling.”

What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?

Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy might include:

  • Gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms
  • Sharp, jabbing, throbbing or burning pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Pain during activities that shouldn’t cause pain, such as pain in your feet when putting weight on them or when they’re under a blanket
  • Lack of coordination and falling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling as if you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not
  • Paralysis if motor nerves are affected

If autonomic nerves are affected, signs and symptoms might include:

  • Heat intolerance
  • Excessive sweating or not being able to sweat
  • Bowel, bladder or digestive problems
  • Changes in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness”

To read more of this article from the Mayo Clinic, click here.

How are celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy connected? 

According to

In some cases, peripheral neuropathy seems to be related to gluten consumption—specifically, to the anti-gluten antibodies some people produce in response to gluten consumption.

About 10% of people newly diagnosed with celiac disease suffer from an associated neurological condition, usually peripheral neuropathy (which is quite common) or gluten ataxia (which is rarer).

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is also a recognized condition. Researchers suggest that tingling and numbness in the extremities represent one of the most common gluten sensitivity symptoms.

“Peripheral neuropathy actually is one of the most common non-digestive symptoms of celiac disease. In fact, it’s possible to have no noticeable gastrointestinal symptoms of celiac disease, but instead to have mainly peripheral neuropathy and other neurological symptoms.”

To continue reading this article on click here.

I find this extremely interesting. Not only because I have many of the symptoms of neuropathy, but because I have one very odd symptom that could be connected. Every doctor I have ever talked to this about looks at me like I have 3 heads. When I have to have a bowel movement, the last 3 fingers in my right-hand experience numbness, tingling, and sometimes a painful pins and needles sensation. Sounds crazy, but it is true. I know the nerves in our bodies are so interconnected, there may be some other explanation for this sensation, but I have yet to find one. If I factor in the numbness and tingling in my hands and feet for no reason… Well, It kind of fits. I have never had any diagnosis, nor seen a neurologist regarding my symptoms. Keep in mind that something as simple as dehydration can cause numbness and tingling in your extremities. Before you start to jump to any conclusions, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

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