Using the FODMAP diet I found out that I’m gluten and lactose sensitive

Eight months ago I woke up in the night with a really scary GI attack – I had strong stomach cramps, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and that was bad enough, but I also felt incredibly strange. I felt like I was having a panic attack and waves of adrenaline were just crashing through me. I felt tingley, and light headed and just wrong. I know it sounds melodramatic, but at the time, I was sure that I was dying.

The next day I still felt somewhat nauseated and had some diarrhea, but I didn’t have all the strong symptoms and I hoped it was over. But that night, it started all over again – I was really scared. In addition to the GI symptoms, my mouth felt sore and numb, my ears were ringing, and my eyes felt irritated. I went to my family physician the next day and she couldn’t find anything in particular wrong with me, and thought I just had food poisoning or a virus, and recommended the BRAT Diet and plenty of fluids. She didn’t think it was anything serious. The BRAT diet didn’t work for me and now I know that is because apple sauce, toast and ripe bananas are high in FOD MAPs.

I continued having nightly attacks for about 2 weeks, and during the day I was just laid out on the couch. I felt scared, exhausted, and strange, like I couldn’t think clearly. I lost 12 pounds. I also had a constant dull ache/pain in my lower right abdomen. I was living on Ensure and 7up. I went back to my doctor 2 more times and she referred me to a gastroenterologist. I had a lot of tests – blood, urine, and stool tests, endoscopy, colonoscopy, CAT Scan, EKG, HIDA Scan, and more blood tests. But no diagnosis or treatment. This went on for 6 months.

In September, 3 mos. ago, I started seeing a different gastroenterologist, and he was the first one who discussed IBS with me. He diagnosed me with post-infectious IBS, and he put me on the FOD MAP diet, Citrucell Fiber, and a nightly dose of Nortriptyline. I still feel tired and somewhat ill most of the time, but since I started this treatment, I’ve only had one full-out GI attack, and I seem to be making slow but steady improvement.

Using the FODMAP diet I found out that I’m gluten and lactose sensitive, so I’ve eliminated those from my diet and I try to avoid other FOD MAP foods as well. I still have some symptoms all the time, which get worse if I eat the wrong thing: irritated eyes, numb/irritated mouth/tongue/lips, ringing ears, abdominal pain. But I feel like I’m finally on the right track.

This is a user story from Denise originally posted in a comment to Post-Infectious IBS on December 2017. We thought it deserved it’s own page here amongst User Stories. 

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