Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Busting Misconceptions About Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dr. William D. Chey, director of the University of Michigan's Gastrointestinal Physiology Laboratory, put out through HealthDay and found on the web site, a list that attacks misconceptions about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I've shortened the answers so as not to reprint the entire article. be sure to click on the link for the full info.

● IBS does not exist in the patient's head. While psychological distress or stress can make IBS worse, they're not the primary cause of the condition in most cases.

● IBS occurs more frequently in women but "it's important that people know that there are many men diagnosed with IBS, and it also affects the elderly.

● Many doctors believe IBS is not an important condition because it doesn't affect a person's lifespan. But Chey said IBS can have a significant negative effect on quality of life and the ability to function on a day-to-day basis, and should be taken seriously by both doctors and patients.

● Lactose intolerance may play a role in some cases of IBS, but it's not the cause of symptoms in the vast majority of people. Chey recommended that patients keep a diary of the food they eat and IBS symptoms. Chey noted that fatty foods, milk products, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks are more likely to aggravate IBS symptoms.

● It doesn't require a lot of medical testing to diagnose IBS. "Identifying the presence of persistent recurrent abdominal pain in association with altered bowel habits, and excluding warning signs is enough to accurately diagnose IBS in most patients," Chey said.

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Anonymous said...

Steve, Is there a lactose discussion group anywhere? Thanks, Lynn

Steve Carper said...

They're hard to find because most people can handle their diets either with lactase pills or dairy-free substitutes.

You may find discussion groups for allergies, IBS, or celiac disease that may include people who need to avoid milk, though