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On balance I have IBS, not lactose intolerance – Oh joy!

Posted Jan 23 2013 6:16am

I took the “Am I lactose intolerant?” quiz here , and the result came out as “No. You have a more serious condition – talk to your GP,” no matter how much I fudged my answers it came out the same. Odd, that. Anyway,  it does appear that my old enemy IBS is back with a vengeance.

NB: To avoid rewriting all this, it was written yesterday so last night, for example, refers to Monday, this morning to Tuesday.

Last night I had a corned beef toastie, with a vile sunflower oil spread, not my usual Clover – not a vestige of dairy to be seen. Later, back to vomiting last night, and diarrhoea this morning.

I have, I believe, found out why I vomit. While I’ve felt so ill I’ve been less assiduous than I might be when it comes to cleaning my dentures and renewing the fixative, simply because doing so means standing up for 10 minutes which, very often, is beyond me, the more so recently. And that now triggers vomiting, because my gag reflex is on a hair trigger. Not sure why, but it is.

Then, to add insult to injury, a few nights ago my heart started playing up at night, with serious tachycardia (way too fast to count manually – the all-time record is 240bpm – this might have been higher). Been here before and, grudgingly, the only solution is to increase the dose of the beta-blocker, Nebivolol, which I’ve done.

But, back to my innards, while there are three definite events linked to dairy consumption, I’d forgotten that a few days ago I had a small 4-cheese pizza with absolutely no ill-effects.

So, is my diarrhoea a return of IBS? It seems likely.

The NHS website has a list of IBS triggers:-


fizzy drinks


drinks that contain caffeine, such as tea, coffee or cola

processed snacks, such as crisps and biscuits

fatty food

fried food

Those in bold are those I’ve been eating/drinking. The fizzy drinks have been Fever Tree tonic and ginger ale, both excellent, especially the tonic, which is properly bitter instead of horribly sweet, as seems to be the norm these days. However, as I don’t normally drink fizzy drinks of any sort, they could, potentially, be a problem, as I’ve had rather a lot.

Fatty food is cheese and Clover, plus some fried fish. I’m also partial to canned sardines** doused in balsamic vinegar (sardines are oily).

**John West boneless in olive oil – seriously good.

As for caffeine, I bought myself a Dolce Gusto hot drinks machine just before Christmas though, frankly, I seriously doubt I’ve drunk enough coffee and hot chocolate to even register.

I left processed snacks and crisps until last as they’re not something I normally eat, but yesterday I had 4 packets of crisps (small ones, from multipacks, not normal ones).

Lastly, what kicked off this whole shambles, the first instance of severe  vomiting and diarrhoea, was a tub of yoghurt laced with maple syrup.

I’ve never eaten maple syrup before, and judging from the excruciating pain and bloating, and the violence of the puking and diarrhoea that followed, perhaps severely I’m allergic to it, and that’s re-awakened my IBS?

Food poisoning is also a trigger, and a few days before onset I found an unopened pack of cheese, still within its date, was mouldy – so I cut off the mould and ate it anyway. Nine times out of 10 this would be perfectly fine, but some moulds can leach toxins into the food, and cause food poisoning…

You might be wondering why I’m not talking to my GP about this. Simple – there’s a current assumption that any bowel malfunction is possibly/probably cancer (you can hardly have missed the TV ad before it was usurped by the tumerous fags!), and off they go prospecting with a camera, snipping bits out of the lining of your colon. In the US you get a general anaesthetic – not here though.

I saw this procedure a few years ago on TV, and the poor sod with the garden hose and Box Brownie up his arse was having no fun at all. At one point the surgeon snipped out a biopsy sample – and the patient damn near leapt off the table! “Oh, did it hurt?” said Dr. Baffledfuckwit, “It’s not supposed to!”

And there, for me, is the whole reason for avoiding this procedure – if they don’t know that the consequence of cutting into the bowel is pain, they clearly do NOT know enough about what they’re doing, and can stay the hell away from me!

As with my heart, there are non-invasive alternatives if they want to take a peek inside. If they don’t want to go with that, they can sod off and I’ll take my chances. Anyway, right now ignorance is bliss – I really don’t want to know if there’s anything else seriously wrong with me, thank you so much! I’ve got plenty to worry about already. Yes, I know that’s short-sighted; no, I don’t care. If I have another terminal condition I’m happy to be ignorant.

Anyway, I simply don’t have the symptoms of cancer, I have the symptoms of IBS – I checked. I looked up lactose intolerance too, as I said, and IBS is a closer match. There’s not a lot in it, but the symptomology, and my history,  point to IBS.

So, I’m going to bite the bullet, put the lactose thing on one side, and hit it with loads of yoghurt.

As I said, IBS was one of the early symptoms of my ME, starting in 1986, and I exhausted the whole IBS pharmacopoeia – absolutely nothing worked.

In the late 80s Sainsbury’s introduced a German live bio-yoghurt. I had a couple of tubs and felt a bit better, but it wore off quickly. So I started to eat it in industrial quantities, a couple of kilos a day, my logic being that such a volume would overwhelm the troublesome gut flora and replace it with more benevolent species, and over the course of a few months my IBS went away.

Stopped the yoghurt – by then I was heartily sick of it – and IBS came sneaking back. Back up to 2 kilos a day and it went away again and, except for occasional flare-ups, easily treated with more live yoghurt (Rachel’s these days), it’s stayed gone – until Christmas. Stocked up with yoghurt, had one tub (with maple syrup – big mistake), and started the cycle of vomiting and diarrhoea. Ditto with cheese, and with Clover, re diarrhoea.

Fast forward to today, Wednesday, and back to real time.

Last night I had a ready meal which had chicken and bacon in a cream and cheese sauce. So far (11.00, Wednesday morning), no problems except for a few overnight internal grumblings. I do feel extremely nauseous today, but that’s nothing unusual, sadly – to a greater or lesser degree I’ve felt nauseous every day since 1986.

So, to sum up, unless proven otherwise, I’m going with IBS. It’s a good fit for my symptoms  if I exclude the vomiting (which I believe I’ve accounted for).

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