DEAR READERS: We received a lot of letters in response to the distressed woman who wrote in about her boyfriend with the unusual-smelling bad gas. There are few alternate terms for the word fart in the English language, so hold your noses -- on occasion, we'll have to go with that. -- Miss L.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: With regards to your advice about bad gas -- we family doctors are not fart doctors. Maybe this guy eats crap, like fast food, 24/7. His doctor will not be able to fix this. It's like telling someone to see their doctor if they are homely or don't clean their clothes. Give me a break! We usually can't fix halitosis either or your bad financial portfolio. (Don't take me too seriously. I'm just having fun!) -- Family Doctor Who Does Not Treat Bad Farts
Dear Hate His Gas: My husband of 31 years had a similar problem with gas. Ten years into our marriage, our second son contracted an intestinal flu and the diarrhea wouldn't stop. The doctor suspected lactose intolerance and as soon as we added Lactaid to his milk, the diarrhea stopped. It was a temporary intolerance for him, as the damage caused by the intestinal virus healed in time.
My husband began to think that maybe his gas was due to lactose intolerance as well, so he avoided milk products and his deadly, room-emptying problem was solved immediately. Now when he eats sour cream dips, it reoccurs within a few hours and it is vile, so he avoids dairy products and everyone is very happy.
Have your boyfriend avoid dairy products for at least a few weeks and see what happens. If the gas problems disappear, you may have a diagnosis. If you want to experiment more, he can try reintroducing a dairy product and see if the cramps and gas return. It is an easy test. Hard cheese is allowed since it is made from whey. Many ice creams are allowed as well, as they often contain edible-oil products and less milk. Intolerance to fructose is also a possibility, but rare.
Many patients don't relate their excessive foul gas issues to their doctors, thus many adults live with the problem and don't realize there may be an easy cure. -- Wife Enjoying Clean Air, Winnipeg
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm writing in response to the woman who wrote in about her boyfriend's foul-smelling gas. I was troubled with the same problem a few years ago. After a routine physical exam and blood tests, my doctor suggested keeping a food diary of everything I ate to look for trends. She said it might not have been individual foods causing the problem, but food combinations. Sure enough, after a few weeks, I was able to determine which foods were wreaking havoc on my guts. I easily cut them out of my diet (the excruciating cramps and abnormally foul gas were more than enough incentive) and have been OK ever since. Hope that helps. -- Been There, Winnipeg
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Terrible gas and cramps are two symptoms of celiac disease (there are others, all very distressing). The boyfriend should ask his doctor to do a blood test for the marker. If he doesn't want to go to the doctor, he could try eliminating all wheat, barley (sorry, no beer), and rye (yup, no rye) from his diet for a week.
If he does have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, he is likely to experience some relief almost immediately, and more as time goes by. There is a further test required to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, but many times the relief of symptoms following the modification in diet can give the sufferer a pretty good idea. By the way, there are many excellent substitutes for bread and several local pizza places even have gluten-free crusts available. -- J.D. Winnipeg
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I can't believe this but my boyfriend is breaking up with me (a girl who looks like a model) for a girl with a fat butt and boobs to match. She's always laughing and giggling and I can't stand her. I work out every day to maintain a size 4 body and I am serious about school and the career ahead of me. What is wrong with him? -- Totally Confused By This, Winnipeg
Dear Totally Confused: Guys fall in love with the way they feel around you, not for your looks and accomplishments. If this girl has a pleasant face, a ready smile and is smart, affectionate and fun, it doesn't matter to him if she weighs 25 pounds more than the girl who struggles to maintain a slim body and has a big career plan.
Some guys love curves on a woman, but it's more likely she just makes him feel really good. Maybe it's time you let yourself lighten up and enjoy life while you pursue your goals.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6