I joined this forum not just to get advice and support but also to give you all the benefit of my many years of experience with IBS... lol
Briefly, i'm in my middle years (assuming i'm going to live until at least 80 or 90!) and was first diagnosed with IBS two weeks after the birth of my daughter. That was complicated a couple of years later when i had to have my gall bladder removed. Since then i've suffered from the diarrhea form of IBS almost constantly. My pattern is i have a few weeks of diarrhea followed by maybe a week of "normal" bowel movements, then back to the diarrhea again. I pretty much live on atropine/hyoscine pills and Pepto-Bismol, supplemented occasionally by Immodium if things get too out of control.
I've learned what food and drinks to avoid - onions, chilli, curry, wine (although clear liquor like vodka or white rum seem to be okay), tomatoes, anything containing caffeine, carbonated drinks, too much fat, too much milk, too much chicken or red meat, food that is too hot, too many eggs, too many vegetables, too much fruit (in other words, all the good stuff we're supposed to eat for bowel health). I know i'm pretty safe with bread, cheese, pasta, potatoes, fish, dark chocolate (thank heavens!) and most "bland" foods. It makes for a very limited diet but it's better than the alternative.
I also believe that IBS - or mine, anyway - is not just influenced by diet and stress but also by physical things. I've noticed that if i sit for too long or wear tight clothing i'm more prone to intestinal cramping.
By the way, i learnt that skim milk exacerbates lactose intolerance more than full-cream milk. It's because the fat in milk helps slow down the rate at which lactose is absorbed by our intestines.
Hoping to get to know you all!