Week of:
Mar 08, 2019

Diabetes: No risk factors, so why do I have symptoms?

Dear Alice,

A few friends have asked me to get tested for diabetes after seeing how much water I drink. I pretty much drink water constantly; my boyfriend actually jokes that I am more of a fish than a human because of how much water I drink (I don't count, but it must be 20-30 glasses a day, at least, and it's been this way for about five years. Sometimes the waiter has to refill my glass a dozen times just in the course of one meal). I urinate often... probably as a result of that. But when I was looking around the Internet I came across symptoms for diabetes, and I connected with more than just the thirst issue — I also have strong bouts of fatigue for seemingly no reason, irritability and headaches (sometimes alleviated by drinking water, actually), and when I get cuts or bruises they often take a long time to heal.

The thing is, I have NO risk factors of diabetes. I have no family members with diabetes, I'm a distance runner, I'm on a really well balanced vegetarian diet, I don't have high blood pressure, I'm not overweight, I'm under 25.

So, could 20 to 30 glasses of water or more a day be just by coincidence how much my body needs, or is this worth getting checked out for? I don't know if insurance will cover it so it's important to know beforehand that it is even worth it before I toss my money towards it. Thanks for the help!

— Thirsty

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)

Dear Alice,

I think my mother has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, if such a thing exists. It started when she got a bad allergic reaction to a certain brand of carbonless copies at work, but has since ballooned into an allergic reaction to just about everything imaginable.

I am really confused as to whether she has a real disease or not. Sometimes she has spent the last two years doing almost nothing but seeing doctors, fighting with Workman's Comp to continue paying for her 'disability,' etc.

Alice, your answers have always been straight to the point, and I need a straight answer now. Does Multiple Chemical Sensitivity really exist? Is it all just mental?

What is fibromyalgia?

Dear Alice,

What is "fibromyalgia"? Heck, I'm not even sure of the spelling, but that's it phonetically, anyway. Thanks.

Lactose intolerance

(1) Hi Alice,

For some years I did not drink milk, but started to take a lot of milk just recently and discovered I cannot digest milk without developing a lot of gas, stomach aches, etc. I did not have that problem before I stopped drinking milk. Will I develop more lactase, i.e., the ability to digest milk, as time goes on and I drink more milk, or will I have to take Lactaid milk for the rest of my life (it's not available in some countries).

(2) Dear Alice,

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance (i.e., how long after taking a milk product will symptoms generally begin, and what are the typical symptoms), and how do they differ from irritable bowel syndrome?


Gastric reflux

Dear Alice,

I'm having this problem called gastric reflux. That is, when I lie down to go to sleep at night, the fluid in my stomach tends to flow back into my lower throat region. Because the fluid is very acidic, my throat is always feeling sore, and I can't speak loudly or for long because of this. This is really annoying. The doctor told me not to eat within two to three hours before going to bed, so I gave up the habit of eating snacks before bed. I eat my dinner at eight and go to bed at twelve, which seems to be a long enough time. But it didn't help. I tried everything. For some days I jogged before sleeping, in the hope that it will 'shake the food deeper down'. And I tried using a high pillow too. It helped a bit but the posture is very uncomfortable and I often slip down when asleep. The problem has existed for months. What should I do?

— Signed, The cow