bloating abdominal pain skin problems vivien

Vivien Dagnall, 29: Bloating, Skin Problems & Abdominal Pains

“I am a changed woman and feel excited, energised and ready to take on new challenges!”


  • Student Vivien lacked energy, had trouble sleeping and suffered painful bloating and cramping
  • She was also troubled by skin problems and a low mood
  • After food intolerance testing revealed a reaction to various ingredients, including cashews, eggs and lamb, she embarked on an elimination diet
  • Following this, Vivien’s energy levels soared, her mood lifted, she lost a stone, and she completed the Great Manchester 10k run in good time – a major personal achievement
  • She says: “At last I can lead a happy, healthy lifestyle.”

Poor skin, abdominal pains, bloating, cramping, lack of energy and low mood were holding Vivien Dagnall back from leading a full life. A full-time student, Vivien tried to overcome her lethargy and bloating with regular workouts in the gym – particularly challenging as she also had trouble sleeping, so lacked the endurance to complete a decent workout.

“I always ended up with a stitch on the treadmill and daily tasks became an issue due to a lack of energy from no sleep,” explains Vivien, 29, who lives in Manchester.

As well as the pain, Vivien was often constipated – to ease this, she used laxatives, increased her water intake and switched to peppermint tea to ease her digestive issues. She also sought advice from her GP, who recommended a blood test to check for the autoimmune disorder coeliac disease. However, this came back negative.

“I was told to examine my diet more closely and to increase my water intake and exercise more, which is when I started to do online research into intolerance testing,” she explains.

By this point, Vivien had endured her symptoms for one and a half years and she suspected a food intolerance was responsible. Curious to pinpoint the exact ingredients her body was reacting to, Vivien decided to try a YorkTest food intolerance programme. The process involves sending a finger-prick blood sample to the company’s laboratory to test reactions to up to 158 foods with the colour-coded results (red for reaction, amber for borderline and green meaning no reaction) identifying the ‘trigger’ foods and degree of intolerance.

Vivien’s results revealed she was intolerant to six ingredients: salmon, trout, eggs, gluten, lamb and cashews, with a borderline reaction to yeast, wheat, cow’s milk, crustacean mix and beef.

“I was shocked,” she recalls, “as I eat these foods on a regular basis. I couldn’t believe it at first, but then I thought maybe that was the answer to my problems.”

The next step was a telephone consultation with a YorkTest Nutritional Therapist, who advised Vivien on replacing her trigger foods with balanced alternatives, and how to shop for ‘free-from’ ingredients that were right for her.

Overhauling her diet and eliminating a long list of ingredients was the next challenge. “One of the hardest things was getting my head around the intolerances and discovering what I could and could not eat,” explains Vivien.

“I’m a foodie so found it very difficult, – especially when all my friends were tucking into smoked salmon, eggs and avocado toast for brunch! However, I told myself that it would be worth it in the end, because at the end of the day, health is the most important thing. I had to start from scratch, but after a while it became much easier and I started to discover new food and drink ingredients that suited me.”

After a month of her new diet regime, Vivien noticed her sleep had improved and after three months, she couldn’t believe her transformation.

“My overall health had improved, along with my mindset and overall digestion. I can truly see how discovering my food intolerances has changed my life. It’s been a major lifestyle change.”

Vivien also lost a stone in weight, hardly surprising as she now has the energy to work out more. As well as being able to run further on the treadmill in her gym, she was delighted to complete the Great Manchester run.

“I ran 10k in 52 minutes – I was over the moon. It was such an achievement, considering I’d never done it before! I can run for much longer without getting a stitch and I even welcomed the bonus weight loss.”

At last, Vivien is free to enjoy her active life without her symptoms dragging her down.

“I feel excited, energetic, ready to take on new challenges and lead a happy, healthy lifestyle!”

YorkTest advise that you consult with your GP first if you are experiencing the types of symptoms mentioned in this testimonial.