Self Diagnosis

I thought I would elaborate on the statement in my last post about diagnosing myself.
The medical professionals say that you should definitely not try this without expert guidance but after years and years of mis-diagnosis I was desperate.
For years my family GP gave me Fybogel, a high fibre powder you have to mix with water and drink. Fybogel and others like it were linked with Colon Cancer in a 2000 study http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1370123/High-fibre-supplement-linked-to-cancer-risk.html and it only served to make me more constipated and give me trapped wind. (Just 2 of the pleasant symptoms of a food intolerance! Guess I should list the symptoms in a future blog in case anyone reading is wondering if they have one.)
In around 1999 a doctor told me that I probably had IBS and that I needed to increase my intake of fruit and fibre. So, what do most people eat when they’re trying to eat more fibre? Brown bread, brown pasta, Bran Flakes etc.
I have had all kinds of examinations, even an ultrasound. All intrusive, unnecessary and got me no closer to a diagnosis.
In 2002, while I was at uni my pains got so bad that I decided to have a day where I only ate one thing and then gradually introduce other things. The first thing I ate was Wheatabix! Instant cramps! I cut out wheat straight away and within a fortnight I had no wind, no constipation and no cramp attacks and best of all, my forever bloated stomach was flat.
Finally in around 2005 a London doctor prescribed Merbentyl. When I asked him what it was, he told me it was an anti-spasmodic and that it should calm my bowel down when I have a bad attack.
I still take Merbentyl and it really does help me (but as with any medication it won’t work for all cases.) At last! A doctor explained to me what was happening inside my body to cause all the pain. He described it as the bowels not pumping food around as normal, but squeezing and churning. That’s what IBS is apparently.
I sort of assumed after that wheat gave me severe IBS symptoms. To this day, I don’t actually know if I have IBS, or just wheat intolerance or both! Doctors have only recently started to diagnose IBS and some still deny its existence.
I see that you can send off your blood for food intolerance testing now, (www.yorktest.com is one) but this should be offered by doctors. For years, I also had bad eczema and dandruff and was given various ‘cures’ – now I know that it was the intolerance manifesting itself in my skin.
I get really mad when doctors merrily hand out meds for skin conditions and the diet is never questioned. The skin is the body’s way of showing you it’s not happy.
And that brings me to another positive that has come from my intolerance – I listen to my body more!

Comments

  1. Wow! I went back to your early blog to see what your symptoms were and I could have written this myself. 15 years of doctors telling me to eat more fibre, be less stressed, take anti-spasmodic drugs, etc. In January this year I treated myself to a few days in a Health Retreat in Australia. I saw the resident naturopath more out of curiosity than anything (and because I was feeling particularly terrible after eating Weetabix!) and he told me to give up gluten and dairy. I hesitated long enough to consider all the beautiful rich restaurant food I had ever eaten but something clicked and I did it. Within a week my "IBS" (like you I don't really know if it ever existed) was gone. 8 months later I have lost a lot of weight, am no longer bloated, my skin, eyes, nails, everything looks healthier! My friends can't believe it - one told me that I had a complexion for the first time ever.

    Any time anybody asks me how I can have the will power to stick with it, I wonder how I could have gone through such a long period of my life feeling so terrible! I only realise now just how awful my health was for such a simple solution.

    Off to Munich for a week in a while and I'm online researching coping with food allergies there. Only drawback is that I have become more reticent about travelling after having been completely spontaneous about food all over the world!

    Great blog.

    Caitriona

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