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Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009, 02:25 am

Major TMI ahead... you have been warned. Maybe someone has some ideas, though, and can correct my understanding...

For years I've always considered myself partially lactose intolerant. Most of the time, I can consume dairy products without problem, but it's always seemed to me that consuming too much can lead to downtime in the bathroom. Most of the time, it's mild, as in I get a minor cramp and know it's time to find the nearest bathroom, but every now and then, something really nasty happens. Tonight was one of those "now and then"s. First, a timeline:

2pm: Breakfast. Strawberry waffle with large blob of whipped cream, and some of Robin's pumpkin pancakes (covered in butter and orange marmalade syrup/sauce/whatever). Two cups of coffee with about 1 Tbsp half-and-half each. (Hey, it's a once-a-week thing.)

Various times in the interim: Water consumed. Nothing more.

9:30pm: Dinner at Olive Garden. Glass of house wine. The sausage and potato soup with a decent sprinkling of parmesan. Their "Tuscan Garlic Chicken", containing a wine-and-cream sauce, also with a decent sprinkling of parmesan; I elect to take about 1/3 to 1/2 in a box. To finish things off, a chocolate lava cake attempt (I thought it was, anyway) with vanilla cream sauce and strawberries. Shouldn't have had it; feel stuffed as we leave.

10:30pm: Arrive home. As I pull into the garage, I feel the onset of stomach pain, and initially think it's from overeating. After fetching the mail and wandering up, it's apparent to me that it's a cramp. Hit the bathroom.

12:30am: Emerge from bathroom; cramp resolved to small sick feeling in the bottom of my belly. (It got way, way worse before it got better. Gory details below.) Go downstairs and mention to Robin what's happened. I'm feeling very dry, so I force a large glass of water down; the last 1/4 takes some effort because my stomach is still quite full from dinner. Almost immediately after I finish drinking, the cramps return, so it's back to the bathroom.

1am: Emerge again from bathroom, again with small sick feeling in the bottom of my belly. Find myself feeling extremely cold, so I crawl into bed with Don Cherry's new book and read. I warm up a little, though not much, and the sick feeling doesn't go away.

2am: Book's done. Robin made some tea for me, so I get up and go downstairs. As I am about to take the first sip, the cramps return. Okay, down another glass of water (easier this time), and back in I go again.

2:30am: Back out, feeling the same way as I did the last 2 times. Return downstairs.

2:48am: Now. Sick feeling has subsided, though I still feel unsettled.

The 2-hour bathroom visit was, in a word, horrible. At first, it was just a moderate cramp, which I can deal with. Somewhere along the line, it got more intense, and then I noticed my hearing was as if someone were putting a paper cone over my ear (or turning down the high frequencies on the equalizer). I generally take this as the first sign that things are about to get really bad. Sure enough, my vision started going fuzzy, and I started to feel like I wasn't all there. (I presume this is because my body's decided that what's in my intestines needs to go ASAP and has directed blood towards them and away from other things, starving them of oxygen.) This combination of incapacitation and cramp is very unbearable, and I sat for what seemed like forever unable to do anything but wait, eyes closed because I couldn't stand the sensation of seeing anything. Oddly enough, I also began to sweat. Eventually, my hearing came back, but I still couldn't stand to see anything. And eventually that went away and my head feeling subsided, though not completely.

Unsurprisingly, I really want to avoid episodes like these, and so I've tried to figure out what sets them off. Food poisoning is a possibility, but I don't think it's too likely, given that Robin had some of my stuff and hasn't had any problems. The aforementioned lactose intolerance is what I thought at first, but it seems like it took a very long time to cause trouble. (Either that, or it was much more quick than I thought, if the dinner is the culprit.) Everything I've read about lactose intolerance says that large volumes of gas are produced, and that diarrhea is not uncommon here, but nothing mentions the sorts of symptoms I described just now.

So, yeah. Ugh. I determined that I spent about 2 1/2 hours between getting home and now in the bathroom. This sort of thing seems to happen on average once every few years, but even that's too much.
(Deleted comment)

Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
jemperly

a third possibility is food allergy--you can sometimes develop those after childhood. but to me it sounds most like selective food poisoning. yuck. :(

i agree with xtalcy--try lactase to see what's up with the lactose intolerance.

Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
nagekinoki

I don't think this is lactose intolerance, personally. I have a feeling it might've been a mild case of food poisoning, because:

a) you've never had this kind of severe pain from eating, from what I know, and you've eaten a rather high quantity of milk products before (particularly when I went visiting you and was cooking).
b) ringing in the ears and blurring vision sounds more like nausea than gastrointestinal upset, and if you've had nausea eating milk products before I've never seen it.

The other thing that comes to mind is:

c) you fasted for the whole day and then ate an extremely heavy meal; your system had been primed for lack of food for the day (considering you had skipped food for the morning and the greater part of the day itself) and so having an excess sometimes means your system is either slow in digesting it or rejecting it in ways.

I don't think lactose intolerance gets worse as you age, it sort of stays at whatever level it's been for most of your life.

Mon, Mar. 23rd, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
firesplace

I got the same fuzzy-visioned, fuzzy-headed, ear-ringing weirdness when sick to my stomach earlier this year. I also recall getting the same back in middle school, when I had a truly killer stomach flu bug. Actually passed out twice from that, too, nearly hitting my head on the bathroom counter. Was fun, lemme tell you. XD
But yeah, I think that part may be a relatively common reaction to gastric distress.

I hope you can isolate the problem!

Mon, Mar. 23rd, 2009 08:47 am (UTC)
beskippy

I tend to get similar episodes (fuzzy-headed, ear-ringing) as well when I'm experiencing severe gastric distress. I also often feel a tightness in my chest and throat, though that could be an anxiety reaction to the other symptoms.

I've wondered about partial lactose intolerance, but I haven't managed to narrow it down at all. Most milk and milk products don't cause any problems for me whatsoever. The last few times I experienced it seemed to be related to snacking on highly-processed "ice cream" (read as: Dairy Queen) in the evening - typically the symptoms would show up about 4-6 hours later.

I mentioned this to my allergist (who I was seeing about something unrelated), and he suggested that it was most likely not any kind of lactose intolerance, since I regularly drink milk, eat cheese, etc. without problem. It could be an allergic reaction to just a single ingredient that was used in something.