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Monday, 7 September 2009

The [un]funny tummy saga continues


Last week I went along to our local Hospital to speak with the Consultant Gastroenterologist. I took Caroline along to give her perspective (it was she who suggested I might be have an intolerance to lactose as couple of years ago).

This is a part of the continuing saga of my digestive system. So, look away now if you’re of a sensitive disposition.

We both felt that the good Doctor (name on application) was pretty impressive:
  • He has a good bedside manner / interpersonal skills
  • He seems open, knowledgeable, approachable

My Backstory

Not sure if he expects to be quoted (hence anonymity), but I recounted my story


  • 2 Years ago - Caroline suggested I might have a dairy intolerance
    • Not sure, take a bit of convincing!
  • Went to the local GP, pretty useless really
  • Went to see the Practice Nutrionalist, pretty useless
    • But did give me a link to www. Lactose.co.uk
    • I bought some lactase pills - helps, buy some more on eBay
  • Aunt had been treated by Nutrionalist, Angela Beecroft
    • I (eventually) go to see her
  • She gets me to do a stool test – result points to Dientamoeba fragilis
  • She recommends complementary therapies
    • These help, but after treatment has finished, symptoms return
  • After taking these she suggests I have a course of anti-biotics
    • I go to the local Doctors (different from first ones, as we’ve moved since then)
    • I've had two courses of Metronidizole - which is why I went to see the Consultant


  • I think I've had this condition for ages
  • When I was on the anti-biotics
    • I felt more clear-headed
    • I felt rested, I slept better
    • My tummy was quiescent
    • I was less snappy & more pleasant


  • Diarrhoea
  • Gas / wind
  • Tummy rumbling
  • Need to open my bowels soon after meals [I did say…!]
  • Better - taking lactase tablets
  • Worse - having dairy, but this is not the only story

The Opinion

  • The Good Doctor reckons it is IBS probably – he thought they were classical symptoms
  • Doesn’t have a very high opinion of most complementary therapists
    • Has been involved in IBS study for 15 years
    • No candida or parasites found in his experience
    • Parasite (from previous test) is probably a red herring
  • We discussed link between stress & stomach – certainly I used to have pretty serious ‘butterflies’ in my stomach when I was a child

Next Steps

  • I go back in a couple of weeks
  • Tests for
    • Parasite – blood & stools
    • Endoscopy (argh – literally & metaphorically…)
      • Coeliac
      • Um something else
  • Treatments to be determined, depending on test results

Wash up

Caroline has also felt that the complementary stuff is bunkum, and (quite possibly) has probably been right all along ;-) :$

It's fair to say that I'm rather taken with the complementary stuff, but in the hospital, I managed to conjure up the following John Maynard Keynes quote:
“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
It’s been an ongoing saga, so I don’t want to get my hopes up. However, if anything like the positive effects of taking that anti-biotics is a guide, this could be promising…

This is a shortened set of notes as I want to get this post up & not spend ages deliberating…

And finally:

Tummy-related Tweets

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