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Ask Dr. Gott 4/11

Breakthrough cure for mother-in-law-itis

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Posted: April 10, 2007 3:26 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2007 5:01 a.m.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I am indebted to you for your keen advice. I put a bar of soap into a large jar of Vicks VapoRub, with the lid off, under the foot of my visiting mother-in-law's bed and, lo and behold, she was gone the next morning. Again, I thank you. You saved my marriage.
    DEAR READER: My medical specialty was never in-laws; therefore, I respectfully ask to be removed from this conflict. I already had enough difficulty in my life. Yet, the effect of "encouraging" your mother-in-law to leave your domain because of soap and VapoRub is provocative — almost seductive.
    I suggest that other readers consider this alternative, in between their giggles, and let me know the outcome. Maybe you're on to something big. I hope not.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: There's been some good advice in your column, and it's nice to know that we're not alone in suffering certain ailments.
    In a recent column, you wrote about someone suffering with bloating, discomfort and occasional diarrhea. While the suggestion of Irritable Bowel Syndrome was pertinent (I suffer from it), it occurred to me to wonder if this person couldn't be suffering from lactose intolerance. The symptoms are very similar to IBS, and it would be a simple matter of eliminating dairy products for a few days to a week to test this theory. Please pass this suggestion along.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: Recently, you ran an article about someone who had bloating, discomfort and occasional diarrhea. While your suggestion that this person may have IBS was good, it was not complete. The symptoms displayed could also come from a gluten sensitivity. (I have been living with this condition for more than 20 years.) I suggest that this person see an allergist and have testing done as soon as possible. It is the only sure way to know what is really going on.
    DEAR READERS: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance, two common intestinal disorders that lead to flatulence, gas, bloating and diarrhea. If a person suspects that digestive problems are related to food allergies, he or she can arrive at a diagnosis relatively quickly without the expense and inconvenience of allergy testing. Avoid dairy products for three weeks. After that phase, if nothing changes, avoid gluten (wheat flour) for a month.
    A positive result from either (or both) tests will tell you whether you have a food sensitivity, the most successful treatment for which is avoidance.
    Readers, as you have pointed out, IBS is not a rare cause of intestinal symptoms, but other conditions should be considered as well.
To give you related information, I am sending you copies of my Health Report "Allergies" and "Irritable Bowel Syndrome."
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