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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: food allergies or IBS


 foodhater - Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:34 pm

I have had issues digesting my food for years. It comes and goes. But I've noticed there seems to be certain foods that are almost guaranteed to give me diarrhea. Lettuce from a salad bar type area (I'm fine if I buy it myself and wash it). Also certain dairy products. Mainly ice cream, milk shakes, and whole milk. However skim milk doesn't affect me and neither does any cheese. While these foods almost always make me ill almost immediately after eating, sometimes I get sick even if I don't eat these foods. I can eat a meal and within a half hour I have bloating, cramps and discomfort. I will have diarrhea one to two times then feel fine, but often like I never ate. I've noticed the problem intensifies if I am under stress so I wonder do I have a lactate allergy, msg allergy, or IBS. Help!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:41 pm

User avatar Hello -

The response to lettuce may suggest otherwise, but everything else you list is very suspicious for celiac disease or lactose intolerance. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) is far more likely than one might expect, because gluten is present in so many foods aside from those made from wheat, while many forms of wheat do not contain gluten. Also, although you don't specify what type of lettuce causes this reaction (you may not know), iceberg lettuce, which is very popular at salad bars, is one of the most difficult foods to digest. So celiac disease and lactose intolerace, as well as IBS, must be ruled in or out. I know celiac disease can be discovered via a blood test, and that lactose intolerance is usually diagnosed via cause-and-effect (deduction). IBS is more difficult, and is usually the default finding when other food-reactive diseases have been ruled out.

I would suggest a consult with a gastroenterologist so as to determine accurately which of the many possibilties is actually causing the problem. Each can be managed medically with very good results, but what works for one doesn't necessarily work for the others, so a specialist would definitely be your best bet.

I hope this is helpful and that you are able to get this sorted out in a reasonable time. Best of luck to you, and please do stay in touch with us here.

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