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

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).

13 thoughts on “On balance I have IBS, not lactose intolerance – Oh joy!

  1. well Sherlock.. its a devil when the patient has to do his own research but i think its going to become more and more prevalent until a certain group of people are taken out of office and replaced with one that realises Drs do a lot more training for their jobs than a prime minister, and his minions do for theirs.
    as my doc told me she thought i might be dairy intolerant, (so lactose intolerant ) i took that test too. it also says same as it did for you.consult your GP. like you i doubt i have anything really wrong like cancer and like you ill avoid having a colonoscopy etc done as long as i can especially as a friend of mine had a heamorrhage after having one for a polyp.
    my symptoms too seem to be more like IBM especially as family upsets lately seemed to set it off after having a few days up-to a week of no symptoms so no need of Fibogel. the latter usually calms it down if i take it once a day for a few days when it starts up.
    I know ordinary coffee can affect me in that way. had done for years. i usually drink decaf these days but lately i am sleeping pretty well apart from going to loo 2-3 times a night..(only symptom I’ve got of the borderline diabetes i am told i have.). i walk with my eyes almost shut.open just enough so i dont fall over anything or bump into walls etc. then back to bed n straight off to sleep again. been doing that for years now so dont call them sleep disturbances. but lately been feeling very tired 3 out of 4 days so have to drink normal coffee to keep going. half a teaspoon only does the trick/ just wondering though if decaf coffee could affect me same way. is it the caffeine or the coffee that is the bad guy.?
    you might be able to help me with something else too………… would you know whether porridge made with rolled oats and water would keep for more than 12 hours? am getting fed up of toast for breakfast but dont want to increase the skimmed/semi skimmed milk i use in small amounts. but i discovered that trying to make porridge on a morning is not a good idea as i am not with it enough till AFTER breakfast to watch it. (microwave was in a terrible mess the morning i tried it). but i forget to do it the night before. was thinking if i could make up enough for a few (3-4) bowlfuls to last that number of days would be easier for me. but would it keep in the fridge that long?could it be frozen? etc etc.
    hope you get all your probs sorted soon. though i know some wont be.
    all the best anyway

    • Well, no diarrhoea or puking for two days, despite eating a lot last night, including the cheese and cream sauce, so I think I’m on the right track. And Jakeman’s – or any highly-flavoured cough sweet – are good for nausea. I knew that, but I’d forgotten.

      Porridge will keep for 12 hours in the fridge. In the microwave, you need a deep container and cooking for longer on a lower setting helps too. I wouldn’t keep it for days though. You could freeze it, but then you’d have to remember to get it out the night before.

      What about instant porridge? The Quaker version is pretty good, and it’s come a long way since Readybrek!

      It’s caffeine that’s the problem, and some decaff does contain a small amount of caffeine, so check the label. To be honest, though, you need to drink a lot of coffee before caffeine’s a problem. It depends on the coffee too. Percolated coffee has the highest caffeine content, as the water is in contact with the ground coffee for a relatively long time. That’s followed by filter (a lot of water flowing through a lot of coffee), and, contrary to popular belief, espresso has the lowest caffeine content because the water is in contact with the grounds for just a few seconds. For instant coffee, it’s in the lap of the gods.

      Just found out that for some people quinine can be toxic, causing, among other things, ringing in the ears, nausea, dizziness and blurred vision, all of which I’ve also had. So maybe I’ve overdone it with the tonic water. It’s probably perfectly safe with just a splash in gin, but I’ve been drinking it by the half-litre bottle.

      Found this too “Excessively drinking tonic water may cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and restlessness.”

      Sounds like the culprit. One of them, at least!

  2. Only tried Jakeman’s once and it affected my asthma/copd. so keep away from them.
    thanks for that on porridge Ron. maybe making it up and freezing in portions will be best bet. at least i have more chance of remembering to take it out the freezer the night before.than making it fresh in the morning. i use instant Nescafe decaf. doesn’t say anything about the caffeine content on the labels. only the following reference… GOOD QUESTION..did you know our coffee is decaffeinated purely with water…. whatever that might mean. looked on the nescafe site .it says nothing more there. Wikipedia says for any coffee to be classed as decaf it has to be 97% free of caffeine. EU says it should be 99% free. must be enough as it doesnt seem to start me off anyway.
    i take Quinidine sulphate for leg cramps.. when i need them only. if taken in excess can and did cause me to have palpitations which stopped when i stopped taking a nightly dose of the stuff. now only take them if i start with cramp early in the night. otherwise i grin and bear it as often starts around 5/6am and i consider that too late to take the tablets.

    • It was leg cramps that tipped me off about quinine, as it’s recently been banned for treating leg cramps in the US.

      I find magnesium sulphate controls leg cramps very well, and especially cramp in my feet.

    • Since I haven’t been able to sleep in bed, cramp hasn’t been a problem, but previously I’d take 600mg every day – doesn’t really matter what time.

      Just checked – it’s magnesium oxide (magnesium sulphate is Epsom Salts!). No need to take anything else with it. Recommended dose is 250 to 500mg a day. My tabs are 300mg so I take 2. Also good for excessive peeing – which is what I originally took it for (urge incontinence is all part of the fun of ME!).

      • oh right. would be good to get a good nights sleep with no nocturnal wanderings to the loo.lol.
        thanks for that Ron.
        just been reading about the welfare card the government are trying to bring in so those on benefits cant buy cigs/booze/and i presume petrol for any car they might have had b4 going unemployed or redundant.dunno what else. sposed to be only used for essentials like food, and i assume heating n lighting and travel on public transport (i presume they mean buses.one journey on them will put a big dint in the amount.. pensioners and those on sickness benefits will be exempt it says..no mention of carers who rely on income support whilst caring for a relative etc. they already get just under 2/3rds of the carers taken off their income support as it is. and will have council tax etc extra to pay soon. bloody ridiculous it is. it gets its 2nd reading on Friday 25 January 2013,

        • The card, as envisioned, is insane and unworkable. How do you pay Direct Debits for rent and utilities with no cash in the bank? Or pay for a taxi? In effect, the government would have to become the bank backing the card (unless they privatise that!). Either way it will cost a fortune to run, or give another of Cameron’s pals a chance for profiteering.

          And it simply won’t work. People with cards will go shopping with people who have cash. Cardholder pays for the other person’s groceries in exchange for cash, and off they all go to the pub. If IDS can’t see that then he really is as insane as I think he is.

  3. well lets face it. they ARE insane. everything they do or say is insane. i for one would not let my kids go without if they were in that situation. even though i know some of the things that are exempt arent actually good for them no one can expect ppl on the dole etc who have so many worries , for instance…to stop smoking (probably keeps their nerves in check fr one thing) i know yu dont agree with smoking and as an ex smoker myself i know it can be done to stop. but in your time, not someone elses and not forcemeat. will only lead to more crime, or deaths thru suicide. . hopefully you are right but they are pushing it at the moment by looks of things.

    • I suspect, like Universal Credit, the LibDems will back it and, also like UC, it’ll crash in flames, taking down thousands with it.

      Not that IDS or Cameron care – we’re just collateral damage.

  4. either they really are blinkered to everyday normal non millionaires or pure evil and i cant agree they dont know what they are doing. too many folk are telling them on a daily basis (possibly hourly)
    been reading Andy Burnham’s speech about his idea for the NHS when /if they get in in 2015. i like the idea of a person being treated as a whole not in bits as happens now. your diabetic team dont know what your medical team are doing with you, and vice versa / they treat one condition and forget about the rest/. they think if your depressed you need antidepressants whereas in a lot of cases its a condition or a few conditions that are causing it through pain.lack of mobility etc.and needs the underlying cause treated. so i think its a good idea to treat us as a whole person cos that’s what we are/ our legs dont work independently from the rest of our bodies nor does our liver,pancreas etc. and why do they test for diabetes using blood tests.that only tells them its not working right and how good or bad its working not the reason for it suddenly (or even gradually) starting to go wrong. for all they know you might have a tumour on it. might be cancer. but inactivity in finding out why could mean the difference between life and death right or wrong treatment etc, like refusing to Xray my spine. i could have TB spine (i know not that likely even though TB is coming back in to the UK but in years gone by i did nurse some ppl with that.) spinal tumours. all sorts of things they cant know are there without doing xrays. so yes. treating us as a whole person is good. cost would apparently be cheaper though i am not sure how. but worth watching i think.

  5. Hey Ron
    About the colonoscopy and taking biopsys, it’s really not that bad. I have Crohns, so have had this a couple of times, and the indignity is the worst part. You can have light sedation or gas and air, but the most uncomfortable part is getting the camera in, like average stomach cramps.It has to get through a valve leading into the colon, and in my case it’s pretty tight. The biopsy part doesn’t hurt, there is just a slight pulling sensation-apparently there are no nerve endings on the inside of the bowel wall, which makes sense if you think about it. I know someone who opts for no pain relief at all, but I rather like gas and air(I think I could become an addict!).Anyway, just in case they ever make you have one, there are worse procedures.

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