IBS & Lactose Intoleance

A large proportion of people with IBS are wrongly diagnosed.

On the net there are millions of informative pages dedicated to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), its symptoms, causes, treatments etc etc. I am not going to repeat all of what these pages are saying. Instead we discuss about something other writers do not mention. If you have been diagnosed with IBS it is probably not... because 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 a diet supplemented with lactase enzyme resulted in subsided symptoms for more than half of the of IBS subjects! That is right, if you have been on a strict and regimental diet for years carry on reading, because this could be your lucky day.

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 of 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). Finally, several researches published in medical gazettes concluded that more than half of the people diagnosed with IBS are lactose mal absorbers 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.

It is recommended to check the table of lactose intolerance symptoms. You may actually find you are simple lactose intolerant after all.