Gluten Intolerance, Uterine & Ovarian Cysts, and Fibrocystic Breast Disease

by Becky Rider

Is gluten intolerance related to the growth of cysts and to fibrocystic breast disease?

The answer is a definitive maybe.

My very subjective personal experience tells me that ovarian and breast fibroids were both related to gluten intolerance - in me. After five years of living gluten-free, mine disappeared, and the cyclical formation of breast fibroids has stopped, finally.

Almost a decade after removing gluten, and five years after removing all grains, I'm still symptom-free.

Will your cysts disappear if you go gluten-free? Perhaps, perhaps not. You'll need to work closely with your health-care practitioner to monitor your body and to find out what may be either causing or aggravating their growth.

Here's the thing:

No one knows definitively what causes cysts to develop. In some people, it may be connected with sensitizing foods, such as gluten, milk protein, soybeans, or other allergens. In others, it may be exposure to environmental sensitizing agents - anything from bleach and detergents to pesticides and solvents.

Some women develop them when they use caffeine, and the more caffeine, the more cysts.

Still others may be caused or aggravated by any number of other factors, some of those factors no doubt as yet unknown.

In many cases their development is thought to be hereditary: but is the growth of cysts hereditary, or is it the sensitivity that (perhaps) causes their development that is inherited instead?

All I can say, from my experimental trial of one (me), is that there can be a connection between cyst growth and gluten/grain intolerance.

What to Do If You Have Fibroid Cysts

If you have uterine cysts, or ovarian cysts or breast fibroids like I did, or any other kind, for that matter, you must see a health-care practitioner to identify them and determine whether or not they are malignant. Once cancer has (hopefully) been ruled out, you should have some breathing room to work with your doctor to discover any hidden sensitivities you may have that could be correlated to their development.

You may need to see an allergist, or you may need to do an elimination diet. Find a good nutritionist to help you design an elimination diet to test for food allergies.

As a side note, when the body is exposed to a sensitizing agent, the two most frequent responses (barring a life-threatening anaphylactic shock situation) are a racing heart and an elevated basal temperature. My first test for gluten sensitivity was, after a day of avoiding gluten, to have a saltine cracker on a completely empty stomach first thing in the morning, before I even got out of bed.

Within 5 minutes of resting in bed and waiting to see what would happen, my heart rate rose from 56 beats per minute to 92 beats per minute, and my basal temperature rose from 97.2 degrees Fahrenheit to 99.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

While these numbers do not indicate a medical emergency, they do indicate the presence of something the body objects to.

If you find that your heart frequently races, first of all get examined by a health-care professional to rule out heart problems. If all is well with your heart, then observe what makes your heart race: is there a pattern? Does it race after you use pine cleaner to wash your kitchen counters, or after you have a glass of milk?

Keep a journal - even if it's just a little pocket-sized notepad, or use your cellphone - of what you have exposed yourself to just prior to noticing the racing heart. If you are consistent and write down every episode, you will soon find a pattern which you can use to determine what substances you might be sensitive to.

One caveat about gluten: Here in the USA, we are so over-exposed to gluten that your body may no longer respond with immediate symptoms upon exposure. You can try avoiding gluten for a day then having a small amount before you get out of bed for the day, observing your body's reaction - if any.

If you have no reaction, that does not necessarily mean you can safely consume gluten.

You should be tested for celiac disease, then if that comes back negative, do a gluten challenge or have the genetic testing done to find out if you are non-celiac gluten intolerant.  

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If you have an auto-immune disease of any kind, you must avoid grains because the proteins in grains drive auto-immune symptoms.

Avoiding grains won't cure your auto-immune disease; nothing we know about yet can cure any of them; but you can control to some extent both the onset and severity of symptoms by identifying any sensitivities (including environmental ones) and avoiding exposure to them.

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If you are not gluten intolerant, gluten should not be having an effect on the development of your cysts. You should continue looking for other sensitizing agents, then avoid them to see how they might be affecting your body.

Always, always, always work with your health-care professional and stay on top of any changes in your body. You don't want to miss malignant changes that could have been caught with regular examinations.

Living gluten free is still mostly about living. Stay well.

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