Dairy Intolerance, not IBS - referral to dieti... - IBS Network

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Dairy Intolerance, not IBS - referral to dietician


Hi - first time on this forum, hoping someone may have some helpful advice. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in 2005, and told it had no dietary implications, but was stress related, so I got no help in looking for possible dietary causes. I finally couldn't take the constant diarrhoea earlier this year, joined the IBS Network and read up on their advice to get GP help in excluding other possibles causes. GP tests confirmed no coeliac disease, or inflamed bowel, but meanwhile I had decided to try food elimination diet, and started with cutting out dairy. The result has been amazingly encouraging - provided I avoid even the slightest amount of dairy (need to peruse all processed food packaging carefully for hidden dairy content) the diarrhoea disappears. GP did blood test for dairy intolerance, but this didn't show up as positive. I am now awaiting referral to a dietician, and would like to see if others have been down this route, and if so how helpful the dietician was, and what questions I might find it useful to ask. I am now unsure whether I ever actually had IBS, but was simply dairy intolerant all along. Thanks for any advice.

7 Replies

You may have just been lactose intolerant. I do have IBS d, and was referred to a dietician who is trained to use the FODMAP diet. It has been helpful.

Swiftcat in reply to b1b1b1

Thanks for this. I am hoping to discuss lactose intolerance and intolerance to proteins in dairy with the dietician when my referral comes through, as at the moment it seems that any dairy is setting me off.


I had lactose and fructose intolerance from an early age, way before my IBS hit.

Swiftcat in reply to Hidden

Looking back, I may have had minor issues with dairy from a young age, not picked up on, and would never eat cheese. In more recent times I could enjoy cooked cheese, but that may have contributed to the worsening of my stomach problems. I will be very interested to see what the dietician says when my referral comes through, but the way I'm feeling at the moment I am happy never to have dairy again, there are plenty of substitutes, and other food items to get the necessary calcium etc from. It's been nearly 6 months now, and if I do have a bout of diarrhoea it can usually be traced to having had something which 'may' contain milk, as listed in packet ingredients, so my policy is now not to have any cakes, biscuits, etc unless I've baked them myself, they have been baked by trusted friends, or I have seen and approved the ingredient list on the packet. Anything listed as 'may contain traces of milk' I eschew! All I wanted back in 2005 when diagnosed with IBS after a colonoscopy was for the specialist to say, even if he believed it was stress related, that they could refer me to a dietician to look at food elimination diet - I just didn't know where to start, and it has taken all this time for me to get so fed up with it that in desperation I started by cutting out dairy. Now I really do question the IBS diagnosis, though should say that stressful situations did seem to make things worse. Now, however, when a family member is awaiting cancer treatment and I could potentially be very stressed, this has not affected my stomach problems, so I really am thinking that dairy could be the sole culprit.

Hidden in reply to Swiftcat

It was a smart move to cook from scratch. Then you know what you are eating and you can see more clearly what you are digesting, or not.

If you cut out all dairy for a week or so and your body settles, then it is likely that it is the sole issue. And you know your body better than anyone, so I would trust your intuition on that one.

Hi this is so interesting! I've been told I have stress related IBS and basically told 'go deal with your stress'! Doctors say it's just IBS and leave us to it!! I haven't been offered a referral to a Dietician - I may ask about it next time I go!!!! But I too have been dairy free for 18months at first I noticed an improvement and I definitely know if I have mistakenly eaten something containing milk too, but I still have on going issues, so wondering if

I could be intolerant to more! I've been trying to deal with my stress by seeing a counsellor And now I do hypnotherapy too! To be fair in the past I have tried lots of food eliminations but saw no improvements so thought If I'm going to suffer i may as well be eating what I like!!

It would be great to have more support out there for us dealt with the it's just IBS card!! Xx

Swiftcat in reply to Flik22

Hope the counselling and hypnotherapy are helping. What amazed me when I joined the IBS Network was that there seem to be so many variations of problems out there, all lumped together under this umbrella term of IBS. Some people seemed to have far worse problems than me, but at 63 I just reached a stage where I had to do something for myself. If I am lucky enough to have stumbled upon the solution to my problem at first try, by eliminating dairy, it will be marvellous, but it does beg the question of why medics didn't suggest this food elimination route earlier - I trusted too much to the stress-related IBS diagnosis. Luckily, I didn't have a lot of pain with my symptoms (or at least, not since my 20s, when I had horrendous regular weekly stomach pain, throwing up, constipation followed by diarrhoea), but when it got to the stage of diarrhoea every other day, or even every day, it wore me down, which is when I had to try something. It might be worth your while asking to see a dietician in case they have a food elimination diet suggestion to see if foods other than dairy could be contributing to your symptoms. There is a 13 week wait here to see a dietician, so I still haven't had my referral, but when offered this route by the GP I accepted it as I think GPs are fine when they can offer you medication which helps, but beyond that they are a bit at sea, I think. Hence the value of things like the IBS Network and forums like this to gain helpful advice from fellow sufferers. Wishing you all the best with your search for relief from your problems.

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