In reply to the Reader’s Story [537] about salicylate intolerance misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, in June 2004 I was referred to a gastroenterologist in with symptoms of IBS to check for coeliac disease. I had had IBS symptoms for 15 years. I also had a SIGA  (immunoglobulin A) deficiency which made diagnosis of coeliac from blood tests more difficult; and lots of other symptoms not connected with digestive tract including fatigue, recurrent sinusitis, joint/muscle pain, skin rashes and urticaria. I had a gastroscopy and biopsy and two pathologists reports were both positive for Coeliac disease, although the gastroenterologist was not sure that the tissue changes were completely typical of coeliac. I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and followed a very strict gluten-free diet for 9 months with no improvement in my symptoms and was eventually given a blood test checking for gene markers HLA-DQ2/8. The results were negative and made coeliac a very very unlikely diagnosis.

In May 2005 the gastroenterologist finally referred me to a dietician to do the RPAH elimination diet and we discovered that removing salicylates and preservatives from my diet improved most of my symptoms. He must have been aware of the possibility that IBS symptoms could be related to preservatives and other food chemicals. The help that I got from the dietician put me on the right track but the Food Intolerance Network website, Sue Dengate’s books and the RPAH cookbook were much more helpful in providing detailed information about foods and food chemicals and managing the diet. The dietician did not refer me to those resources but I found out by doing my own homework and searching on the internet – by email.