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When I was a little girl, maybe as young as 10 years old I began having “stomach problems”. After lots and lots of tests, the doctor determined I needed more fiber in my diet. I would have to pour a spoonful of some sort of sawdust like substance on my fiber rich cereal each morning.

As an adult I never really got better. I wouldn’t have problems all the time but every once in a while things would flare up and I would begin to suffer again.

I was told as an adult I needed more protein in my diet and with a diet high in red meats, I absolutely didn’t get better. In fact, if anything it made me want to avoid red meats all together.

Eventually I was told I had IBS, which is short of irritable bowel syndrome – this was in my late 20s, or early 30s. My grandmother had IBS so apparently I did too.

If you look at the list of symptoms for IBS you would have agreed with the doctor too. I had pain, in my abdomen. The cramping and discomfort varied but at times it was horrible. I had excessive gas, and at times urgent need to defecate.

But despite being able to check off all the little symptom boxes for IBS that isn’t what I have. My doctors were wrong. All of them.

My little sister had a daughter who at a young age began to have similar symptoms to me. Only after all these years, medical testing had advanced and without much effort they were able to figure out her problem, she had some sort of milk allergy.

As we learned to pay attention to what she ate, I learned to watch my own food. I think I first noticed it when I went to Taco bell. Afterwards I had what I began to call episodes.

The one day I was at a Mexican restaurant and had the chips and queso. Again, another episode.

In time I figured out that any time I had cheese, milk and even butter, I would have an episode. After decades of suffering and misdiagnosis by countless doctors, I learned the one very simple truth, my body can’t tolerate dairy. I have to avoid it if I don’t want to get sick.

I had to get REALLY bad before things got better for me but now I know what causes my problems and I know not only to avoid all sorts of dairy but that if I still have occasional pains, I go on a very bland diet for a few days, maybe even a full week and I’m all good.

So before you get on tons of meds to treat your IBS, make sure in fact you do have IBS. Make sure it’s not something as simple as being lactose intolerance or a milk allergy.