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Question
Posted by: unhappy stomach | 2004/11/05

Irritated bowel?

HI Dietdoc

I have had real probelms with my stomach for the past month, with many symptoms seeing to be like IBS, except that it has always been diarrhoea not constipation with me sometimes needing the loo 5 - 8 times in the day. I cut out my iron supplement, since I know this can cause GIT complaints, and will have the iron injection instead. I LOVE DIARY and I LOVE wheat, but a dietician has said I should maybe go wheat-free to see if it fixes me up. I am almost 40 years old and have ALWAYS tolerated wheat and dairy - could it be at this age - that I have developed an intolerance? I have been stressed - and I know this exacerbates the problem - but I'm not on medical aid and am reluctant to go to a GI specialist, since I know they will want to do tests that amount to R1000's of R's which I simply don't have.
Should I cut the wheat for a week and see what happens - and what should I do about dairy - keep it normal and then if the wheat-free has had no effect - try cutting dairy? PLease advice, since I am so tired of this problem. Tks in advance for your help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Unhappy
Firstly I would suggest that if you still suffer from the diarrhoea after a month that you have a medical checkup with your gp (which won't cost a lot) just to see if you are not suffering from an infection. The gp can also then determine if you do have IBS. You can certainly cut out all wheat for 2-3 weeks to see if this improves the situation. You are correct that if cutting out wheat does not improve things, then you can try dairy for another 2-3 weeks. The problem is that although these 2 foods are among the most common allergy-producing foods, there are also many other foods that could be the culprits, e.g. soya, nuts, etc. That is why it is a good idea to first have a medical examination to eliminate infections and then pinpoint what is actually causing the diarrhoea otherwise you may have to be on these elimination diets for months to come and your condition may not clear up for all this time. It is perfectly normal for adults to suddenly develop an allergy or sensitivity to certain foods. This is due to the fact that your antibody levels build up over long periods until they reach a critical level on a given day and then you develop the symptoms.
Holding thumbs that you can sort out what is going on.
Best regards
DietDoc

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