Lauren’s story shows how individual IBS can be. “I am thankful I have had help. The diet detection process offered practical advice at a time when I was at a real loss with what I could actually eat. I now know that everyone has their own food sensitivity symptoms. Some of mine were quite unusual and had really bothered me for years. I had nausea every morning, a burning band of hotness from the waist around the back, after some meals, generally feeling unwell, with bloating and lots of wind. I was bothered by high body underarm odour. I was described as “hyper” as a child, and my brain still works fast. I slept well but always had dreams: some good and some bad.
I remember crying on the telephone explaining I have no idea what I can eat. My body seemed to react to everything. I definitely had itchiness after prawns, and a severe mood reaction to some iron tablets, and felt worse if my milk intake increased. I felt sick if I wore perfume. I was very sensitive to the texture and density of food. I was still uncomfortable next morning after dry meats, but did not have this reaction with meat that had been moist cooked like in a casserole. I was surprised that when I had antibiotics for the bladder infection 5 years ago my gut felt better while on them.
I have now been through the diet detective program with the guidance of the ideas in Your Diet for Your IBS. I went on the Combined Low Chemical and Low FODMAP diet, and still kept in some milk but it was lactose-free. I hated giving up my chai and mint tea, but was so keen to see what diet would do that I gave them up and put up with withdrawal headaches.
With my symptoms greatly reduced I slowly built up a safe base diet that I can always fall back on. I still have bad reaction weeks but the difference is I trust my base diet and can ride out my symptoms with them. I am able too use the various challenge ideas which encourage me to slowly try new foods to see if I can eat them. I’ve come a long way since starting with diet investigation.”
IBS really is more complex than most people realise. Like Lauren, each person has their own symptoms, and their own name for how they describe them. I am so glad I am in a position where people’s lives can be changed by what I have learned over many years, and have the added help from my very bright colleague Ashleigh Jones, to provide information in our new book Your Diet for Your IBS.