Coeliac disease sufferer Bill Larkman wants to urge everyone to live on the safe side and get tested.
Coeliac disease sufferer Bill Larkman wants to urge everyone to live on the safe side and get tested. Scottie Simmonds

Campaign to get men's mojo back

FOR several years Bill Larkman had been battling with a constant discomfort until tests revealed he had been suffering from coeliac disease — it was that simple test two years ago that gave him his “mojo” back.

Coeliac disease is an immune illness which causes a total intolerance to the four grains – wheat, rye, oats and barley and affects one in 100 Australians.

Sadly, men are lagging behind women in the testing stakes, and account for less than one third of all annual blood tests for the disease.

“Tiredness is the main symptom and you feel like you’ve lost your drive,” Mr Larkman said.

Other symptoms he suffered were reflux, indigestion and an unsettled stomach.

“You tend to put up with it and think you’re working too hard or not sleeping well,” he said.

“It was the furthest thing from my mind – I would never have thought it was Coeliac.”

The retired policeman of 40 years urged other men to swallow their pride and get tested, as the tests were “nothing to be frightened of”.

“It will turn your life around,” he said.

“Particularly in males, if you don’t get it fixed it can lead to bowl cancer.”

Mr Larkman said within two weeks of being diagnosed, he was feeling on top of the world.

“I got my mojo back – it was a turnaround,” he said.

He found it was difficult at the beginning to learn about the foods that agreed or disagreed with his body, but praised the “wonderful” help and support of the Coeliac Society of Australia.

“It costs $20 a year but the information you get from there is just great.”

Mr Larkman meets a coeliac support group at the Mater Hospital every month, and swaps recipes and stories with other people living with the condition.

This week marked Coeliac Awareness Week around the nation, with particular attention paid to men by the launch of a new campaign – Mate, have you lost your Mojo?

If you believe you are suffering from the immune illness, contact the Coeliac Awareness hotline on 1300 273 272.

SIGNS, SYMPTOMS:

  • General tiredness or lack of stamina.
  • Excessive flatulence and wind.
  • A bloated stomach.
  • Diarrhoea/constipation


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