It took me a LONG time to pinpoint Annatto as the cause of my problems. For years I just lived with constant diarrhea. It was at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 I started to develop new problems. I started getting severe abdominal pain (like nothing I had before) and then a few months later I started getting extremely bloated. The bloating caused me to have unusual belching fits which just added to the embarrassment of my situation. In Feb 2010, my wife and I took a week long cruise... most of the food on the cruise didn't bother me; for the most part I was symptom-free that week!

When we returned from our trip all my problems returned (much like your story). Then in March a new symptom ... I started to get some very unusual and severe pain in my nether regions to the point that it was uncomfortable to sit down. I went to go see my PCP about the burping, abdominal pain, and my "new" problem.

He diagnosed me as having celiac sprue disease and hemorrhoids. A few weeks went by; the problems continued even with a new diet. The pain in my bottom came and went. Then finally in March, I ended up finding out one of my problems was not hemorrhoids but a perianal cyst that I had to have lanced.

After speaking with the proctologist following my surgery and telling him about all my recent problems he decided to perform a colonscopy to rule out colitis and Crohns. Colonscopy was clean but the only thing they could tell me was that they thought I had IBS.

Finally, in August I went to go see an Allergist. The allergist performed a scratch test and put me on a BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast!) diet. I spent the next three months slowly adding unprocessed food back into my diet. When it was time to add dairy I began having problems again. It was only after speaking with my older sister that she told me she had problems with food dyes. Her problems were skin related (rashes / eczema). She explained to me that yellow cheese has a dye in it (little did I know at the time).

So, I decided to "re-challenge" dairy but this time with just milk--no problems! I then added yellow cheese to my diet--problems again! Finally, tested white cheese--no problems! It was a eureka moment! :)

I still make a few mistakes from time to time but I have been mostly symptom free since making that discovery. I now have no doubt that ALL my problems (including my cyst) were due to my intake of annatto in all the foods I ate. – by email, USA (we would like to hear from others who are affected by annatto with these symptoms or others: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)