IBS gone after avoiding milk but not when avoi... - IBS Network

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IBS gone after avoiding milk but not when avoiding lactose?

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So last year my problems were suddenly different, more severe and more frequent with no obvious reason why. I was told to try lactose free for 4-6 weeks but no joy, tried gluten free for 6 weeks but no joy, tried low FODMAP for 6 weeks but no joy. Always struggled to eat soy, beans etc for the past 10 or so years. Then I switched from milk in tea and cereal and also stopped eating Greek yoghurt every day and now have oat milk in tea and cereal. I still eat products containing milk and still eat small amounts of hard cheese most days but the painful intestinal sloshing, regular defacation, gas, distension in the rectal area, popping popcorn sensation in the intestines has all gone and I seem to be able to tolerate more veg and fruit and can cope with beans, lentils and soya milk?

I had a colonoscopy and they found nothing and waiting for the results of a ct scan but the consultant warned me they’d probably find nothing.

Nothing else has changed in my life but I can’t work out why cutting out milk and Greek yoghurt seem to have done something when going lactose free didn’t? I went on holiday at Xmas and had to drink milk again and was so poorly again but back home I was fine within a couple of weeks back on oat milk.

Has anyone else experienced this? No gp or specialist has ever suggested this as something to try? I only switched as my partner is vegan but after a month or more I noticed a difference. Have had no issues now for about 3 months apart from when I had milk at Xmas for 2 weeks. If it stays this way it’s life changing for me!!

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I had the worst 18 months up to Christmas 2020 and was getting really down. I decided to do a intolerance test in December this wasn’t advised by any GP or consultant. It came back that I was dairy and some gluten intolerant. I cut out everything advised on the 30th December and by the 2nd January all bloating and discomfort had disappeared it was like someone had turned the switch. I hadn’t had a full nights sleep for months I’m now sleeping through, I have so much more energy if I stay like this I’ll be a very happy man.

I had a 2 week set back after a 2 week course of antibiotics for a chest infection but doubled up on probiotics and back on track.

I would advise any to do an intolerance test or at least an elimination process.

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Hidden in reply to TrickTree

It’s on my to do list as soon as lockdown is over. I’m wondering whether to just do what you’ve done anyway. I had a colonoscopy yesterday and nothing was found so it might very well be that I’m intolerant to something in my diet. The more I read, the more I’m convinced a lot of people’s problems are due to intolerance, maybe not so far as an “allergy”, but a gradual intolerance to something. I’ve a CT scan coming up which hopefully will confirm it’s nothing more sinister, but I think I’m going to look very much at my diet now my bowels have been given the all clear.

There is a difference between lactose and milk intolerances. You may be intolerant to the protein in milk but not the lactose. I knew I was lactose intolerant and used to drink and eat lactose free stuff but then I had a test done years ago and it showed I was dairy protein and lactose intolerant.

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Hidden in reply to Carlettejaque

Could you tell me what type of milk you drink?

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Carlettejaque in reply to Hidden

I drink sainsbury sweetened soy drink. It's very nice in tea, cooking and just as a drink. I used to drink rice milk but it's very watery and not as nice as the soy one. I usually drink decaf tea. I can't tolerate coffee. Other than that water or still flavoured water. Can't do fizzy.

The amount of lactose in milk is considerably high but much lower in milk products like cheese and cream. You can buy lactase enzymes in tablet form from health food shops like Holland and Barrett which is what they add to lactose free milk (it’s not actually lactose free!) With intolerances you need to find the level at which you can tolerate them before a reaction occurs. It’s not like an allergy where you get an instant reaction, it occurs after a build up in your body as you gradually eat the foods that affect you. Milk will likely cause a spike and take you over your tolerance level quickly as it’s so high in lactose. Hope that helps!

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Hidden in reply to swishymichy

Yes it’s weird that I gave up all things with lactose for a while and it did nothing for me. I’ve spoken to so many gps and gastroenterologists over the years but never been referred to a nutritionist, just given a lot of nutrition strategies to try as described above.

Other factors such as stress can increase sensitivity which would bring your intolerance levels down.

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Hidden in reply to swishymichy

Yes I thought that but it hadn't changed when this first got much worse and it hasn't changed as stress levels have changed over the past year.

I agree with swishymichy that perhaps, by cutting out milk, you are now consuming a tolerable amount of dairy for your body. I have FODMAP intolerance, for example, and provided I don’t exceed my limits, I’m fine. However, once I have a little bit too much, I start to have lots of terrible symptoms.

It sounds like you have a milk protein intolerance and not milk lactose intolerance.

My son had this after working trough the ‘dairy ladder’ he’s been able to overcome his milk intolerance with age.

He’s not able to have soya still. The protein is very similar to the milk protein so Chinese takeaway and ice cream cones are a no go 🤢

Hope this helps 😃

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Hidden in reply to Green2021

Weirdly I used to struggle with soya but have now been drinking soya milk as a recovery drink after exercise instead of milk and so far no issues. I'm wondering if there was something in milk that flared up my intestines which then made them sensitive to pretty much every food going, given that the FODMAP diet hadn't worked for me. And that maybe my gut has healed enough to now cope with the veg/beans etc I struggled with before? If it stays this way then it's a game changer as it was a nightmare trying to cook separate meals for my vegan partner when every protein source in his diet seemed to aggravate my problem.

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Interestingly the specialist called me up today - CT scan all fine, but when I mentioned my possible solution, he said both he and his wife cut out milk and yoghurt and it’s improved digestion problems that had too. He said he suggests it to all his patients if they’ve tried everything else so it’s a shame I hadn’t spoken to him 10 years ago (although maybe he’s only just figured this out recently too!)

I cut out all dairy and my IBS felt considerably better - I had eczema on my fingers and that cleared up as well. I've been able to reintroduce goats butter but it seems I have a problem with both the lactose and the casein (milk protein) too. Apparently a lot of adults can't digest casein in large quantities. I've been sticking religiously to a low Fodmap diet and have cut down my sugar intake as well and it has helped a lot, but as soon as I try yogurt again I have the eczema back and my IBS flares up shortly afterwards.

I am seeing a medical dietician. She has advised eliminating all dairy and gluten. It has helped, however my diet is now very limited. She is slowly going to add back foods, so will see how that goes.

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