A woman who didn’t know she was lactose intolerant discovered a two-year vomiting illness had been caused by her daily cups of tea.
Antonia Terrell, a 28-year-old investment manager, said she felt sick all the time and threw up ‘violently’ at least twice a day.
But despite numerous trips to the doctor, it took years before she would get to the bottom of the miserable illness.
And it turned out to be the milky cups of tea she so enjoyed drinking in the office which were triggering a severe lactose intolerance.
Antonia Terrell, 28, tried cutting foods out of her diet to work out what was making her sick but she couldn’t get to the bottom of the issue. It later turned out she was intolerant to the cow’s milk in her cups of tea
‘I used to feel nauseous every day and would be sick most days,’ Mrs Terrell said. ‘It would make going to work really difficult as I was always feeling or being sick.’
She told The Mirror: ‘It slowly crept up on me over a number of months.
‘I’d get into work, drink my tea – which had lots of milk in it – and I’d think to myself, “Urgh, I can’t believe I’m already feeling sick and all I’ve had is a tea with milk”.’
When she couldn’t find an obvious cause for the problem herself, Mrs Terrell, from south-west London, went to see her GP.
But they couldn’t find a source either and advised her to try cutting various things out of her diet to see if she could stop the vomiting.
This didn’t yield any results for Mrs Terrell and the months rumbled on.
As well as making her feel constantly unwell the problem impacted Mrs Terrell’s social life.
‘I wasn’t as sociable and missed a few events because of it,’ she said.
‘I spoke to my GP who advised to reduce my diet to practically nothing and slowly reintroduce some foods so that I could be made aware of what was making me sick.’
Mrs Terrell’s mother-in-law recommended she take an allergy test to work out which foods could be triggering the investment manager’s sickness
‘I was having a lot of dairy in my diet, like milk,’ said Mrs Terrell. ‘And very milky tea turned out to be the main culprit.’ When she cut out dairy and switched to soy milk, Mrs Terrell’s sickness stopped
Lactose intolerance is a common condition in which people’s bodies are unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar found in cow’s milk and dairy.
Around 65 per cent of the world’s population has some sort of problem trying to digest dairy, and this has varying effects on different people.
Some may just suffer from wind, stomach rumbling or bloating, while others face diarrhoea, feeling sick, stomach pain and vomiting.
Lactose intolerance is caused by an absence of the substance needed to break lactose down in the body, meaning it stays there and ferments.
Mrs Terrell finally used a test to discover she was in fact intolerant of the milk of cows, goats and sheep, as well as a host of other foods including nutmeg and vanilla.
She did a Food&DrinkScan programme by the company YorkTest, which analyses the body’s reactions to 208 types of food and drink.
She said: ‘My husband, Richard, had a long-standing dairy intolerance which wasn’t great for him as a kid. He’d suffered with it for years.
‘So he did a YorkTest – and that’s how I found out about it. His mum was saying that I needed to take the test as she suspected I also had an intolerance, so I did.
‘I was having a lot of dairy in my diet, like milk. And very milky tea turned out to be the main culprit.’
Mrs Terrell said some days she would go into work and be sick after having eaten or drunk nothing but a cup of tea (stock image)
After cutting out milk Mrs Terrell said: ‘Improvement happened very fast. A couple of weeks maybe and I had realised that [the problem] had gone!’
Since the test, which involved sending a finger-prick blood sample to YorkTest, Mrs Terrell has managed to cut dairy out of her diet and the daily vomiting has stopped.
Now a fan of soy milk, Mrs Terrell said: ‘I found the elimination process easy. I spoke to the YorkTest support team who helped me understand what I could and couldn’t have.
‘After trying a few different milk alternatives, I settled on soya as my favourite one.
‘Improvement happened very fast. A couple of weeks maybe and I had realised that [the problem] had gone!’