75% of IBS suffers see improvements to their IBS symptoms when trialling a low-FODMAP diet with a registered dietitian.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). IBS commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, excessive wind, diarrhoea with 'urgency' and constipation. Were you given a diagnosis and told it’s ‘just IBS’? I know these symptoms affect stress levels, cause anxiety and embarrassment and significantly affect work and social life.
Management of IBS
If you’re suffering IBS symptoms you should initially discuss it with your GP. Tests should be arranged to exclude 'red flags' and coeliac disease. Traditionally, dietary advice has concentrated on the regularity of meals, adjusting fibre intake and reducing caffeine, fatty and spicy foods. Research in Australia (Monash University) and UK (Kings College London) has found a relationship between fermentable carbohydrates and IBS, resulting in the ‘FODMAP diet’. Studies have shown that over 75% of patients show improvement using the FODMAP diet. NICE Clinical Guidelines (CG61, Feb 2015) and the British Dietetic Association recommend the FODMAP diet as an effective treatment for IBS.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Our gut bacteria begin fermenting the FODMAPs in our diet, resulting in increased gas production, and therefore symptoms such as wind and bloating. An osmotic effect influences the amount of water in the large intestine, resulting in either diarrhoea or constipation or both. Reducing the intake of high FODMAP foods has been shown to improve the gut symptoms in most people with IBS.
The FODMAP diet
This is an effective way of managing IBS: identifying trigger foods and minimising them in the diet. The FODMAP diet is not a diet for life; it should be followed for a maximum of eight weeks. When symptoms improve, food challenging begins. This is a crucial part of the process, where you are able to determine which foods cause your symptoms. If left to tackle this alone, you may find the diet daunting, but I can help guide and support you through the intricacies of the diet. There is hope... the FODMAP diet has a success rate of over 75% - improving and even eradicating symptoms, for good.
A symptom-free future
When you know which foods trigger your symptoms, you can minimise them in your diet and manage your IBS... which puts you back in control again, enabling you to enjoy life to the full!