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Living with IBS, Lactose intolerance, a Hiatal Hernia and being a Vegetarian

Updated on June 17, 2012


I must say, living with all these problems, and the fact that I'm vegetarian, has not been easy! But you need to find ways to cope and chose "safe" things to eat, so that is what I concentrate on.

I found out I was lactose intolerant years ago, and once I realized it I was able to take most dairy out of my diet and felt SO much better. At the same time I also cut out the meat. I was just done eating animals. But I didn't know how much better I would feel after that too! I stopped feeling so heavy all the time and started feeling so much lighter.

My IBS is caused by the lactose intolerance for the most part, but of course stress is also a huge factor.

I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia when I was in grade 10.

Unfortunately, I LOVE cheese and anything with a creamy, cheesy sauce. I also love everything that can irritate my hernia, which leaves me to wonder, what's left for me to eat out there?

IBS Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation
  • Passage of mucus
  • Gas and bloating

When I feel an attack coming on I'll get extreme abdominal pain and discomfort. I am usually very bloated and and uncomfortable. There's a lot of gas and eventually I rush to the bathroom. During the attack I usually get cold sweats and need a cold, wet cloth to put on my face. Depending on what causes the attack, it could last a few minutes, to a few hours.

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

These symptoms are very similar to IBS. If you think you may have IBS but are only getting sick after consuming dairy, consider that you may be lactose intolerant.

Hiatal Hernia Symptoms

  • Heartburn
  • Gas
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Reflux

Having a hiatal hernia is not enjoyable.. It is when an upper portion of your stomach is above your diaphragm, meaning it is not able to close properly. Once you start getting reflux, it's hard to make it stop. I can only describe it as a very sick stomach, with internal 'burps' that aren't quite making it out. During one of my pregnancies I took a nap one day, and woke up with a mouth full of vomit. Laying down for so long had caused everything in my stomach to just flow upwards.

Being Vegetarian, with all these problems!

I was never Vegan because I adored cheese too much. I found that through the years after realizing I was lactose intolerant, I could eat cheddar cheese. So I would basically eat any cheese that was orange :p Mozzarella though? FORGET IT! NEVER AGAIN :)

It's hard for me to eat on a day to day basis because everything I put into my mouth might make me sick. It's good to have a dietitian handy and Ranitidine tablets are lovely.

Although I still suffer from all these problems, cutting meat out has made a huge difference. Meat and dairy were causing so many attacks, for so many years. Now I am able to go a whole year without one. It all depends on if I'm deciding to eat something that will cause me problems or not.... and I do like a lot of things I can't eat, so I struggle.

Eating salads is nearly impossible for me, and I LOVE SALADS! But, I also love Ranch dressing..and wow that hurts. Fruits don't agree with me unless it's in very small quantities.

It would be nice to have a new body.. one that would function normally, but I have to live with this one, so I have to find things that are OK with my body. It's hard for me to maintain a healthy weight because of all my problems, and the fact that I don't eat meat and peanut butter has recently started giving me problems.. But somehow I do it!


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