Why No Dairy

Between 2012 and 2016 I suffered with a set of symptoms that doctors decided was Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The symptoms that caused me the most trouble were painful bloating and constipation.

As far as I can tell, IBS is a catch-all for “there’s something wrong with your digestive system but we’re not sure what.” It was recommended that I try changing my diet until I find something that works for me.

For years I experimented with different diets: gluten free, low FODMAP, wheat free, low sugar, low carb. The only thing that seemed to reduce my symptoms was entirely cutting out dairy, so now that’s what I do.

Q: What happens if you accidentally eat dairy?

Usually I’ll experience discomfort some short time after eating whatever it was that contained dairy. The symptoms will usually be feelings of extreme bloating.

I keep saying “usually” because occasionally I’ll feel fine, and occasionally I’ll feel bad if I haven’t, to my knowledge, had any dairy. My digestive system just seems to hate me sometimes.

Q: So you’re allergic to milk?

No.

Q: So you’re lactose intolerant?

Probably, but I’m not 100% sure.

I’m quite sure I don’t have an allergy to dairy, because my symptoms aren’t that severe, but my symptoms don’t fully line up with lactose intolerance either.

Q: So you can’t eat chocolate?

Not typically. There are chocolates you can get that either don’t contain dairy (e.g. dark chocolate) or use dairy substitutes (e.g. soy milk).