The 31-year-old talk show co-host spares no blushes about the digestive ailment that left her in agony for years after a series of misdiagnoses.
“No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea – or all of the above simultaneously,” she reveals of her struggle, which began in 1997 after a trip to Central America.
Also suffering from severe fatigue, Hasselbeck says she was wrongly diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and even given anti-anxiety pills to ease her chronic symptoms.
She finally linked her disorder to celiac disease caused by a gluten intolerance after her symptoms vanished during the severely restricted diet she endured for more than a month while filming “Survivor: The Australian Outback” in 2001.
“The only known treatment for celiac disease – which can cause acute damage to the small intestine and the digestive system as a whole – is a lifelong gluten-free diet,” says Hasselbeck, now symptom-free and expecting her third child in August.
“I’ve never felt better in my life,” she enthuses. “I cannot imagine ever returning to eating gluten – even if I didn’t have celiac disease.”
Keen to raise awareness of the disease, which is thought to affect nearly three million Americans, Hasselbeck details her struggle and trial-and-error solutions at www.gfreediet.com.