Misdiagnosing IBS can be very costly!
It is suggested that the symptoms of IBS may be wrongly attributed to lactose intolerance. Nearly all searches conducted conclude that a lactose free diet or supplemented by lactase enzyme resulted in subsided symptoms for more than half of the of IBS subjects.
IBS vs. LI
The first web site I published back in January 2000 before expanding to foodreactions.org concentrated mainly on lactose intolerance. However, I included a page with some information about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) because they both have similar symptoms and there is a possibility of a misdiagnosis.
Some three months after the publication of the web site (at that time called foodreactions.org), I received an email sent to me by a visitor from Bahrain who was misdiagnosed with IBS. After coming across my web site he realised that he was 'simply' lactose intolerant rather than suffering from IBS. For 15 years he stood by a stringent diet excluding a long list of foods. He now just follows a lactose free diet and enjoys the rest of foods he omitted for all those years. Unfortunately, at that time I had not yet discovered the lactase enzyme supplements available on the market, hence I could not recommend it to him, but a dairy free diet.
Similar stories continued to emerge and you can read about them in the Forum. For this scope, I put particular attention to all of you diagnosed with IBS and emphasise that you should give yourselves a chance to find out if perhaps you may be Lactose Intolerant after all. IBS is a multi-symptom gastrointestinal motility disorder that have a wide clinical spectrum and is associated with symptoms of gastrointestinal dysmotility and visceral hypersensitivity. Symptoms if IBS overlap other gastrointestinal conditions including coeliac (celiac) disease and lactose intolerance. Many medical reviews and researches demonstrate that a significant number of patients with IBS experience improvement with symptoms if either avoiding lactose foods or take lactase enzyme supplements (Tolliver et al. J Clin Gastroenterology 1996 Jul;23(1):15-7).
In a study in Italy, similar results were achieved. Vernia et al. report that 157 (68%) of the 240 diagnosed with IBS had lactose intolerance. They were asked to follow a lactose free diet and 110 of them did, while the rest did not. 48 of the 110 persons who followed a lactose free died had their symptoms subside, 43 had their symptoms reduced significantly and only the remaining 19 showed no improvement (Ital J Gastroenterology 1995 Apr;27(3):117-21).
Further studies published in the Lancet by Jones et al. (Lancet. 1982 Nov 20;2(8308):1115-7.) find that IBS in some individuals is provoked by food intolerances such as carbohydrate intolerance including fructose and sorbitol (Goldstrein et al. Isr Med Assoc J. 2000 Aug;2(8):583-7). For more details on food intolerance and how to treat it visit the Food Intolerance section. Finally, several researches published in medical gazettes concluded that more than half of the people diagnosed with IBS are lactose malabsorbers and simply by following a lactose free diet, or supplementing it with lactase enzyme they can function a normal life avoiding huge costs for both themselves and the health-care systems.
Approved lactase enzyme supplements are now available from foodreactions.org at a discounted price. They are shipped world wide so there is no excuse for not trying them. They may change your life. For assistance on digestive enzymes click here.