IBS and the Low FODMAP diet
How do you know if you have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)?
This week’s question is one that crops up a lot… IBS is a term we use for a collection of symptoms including bloating, flatulence, constipation and diarrhea. Often it’s a combination of these at different times. You might suspect a food is causing problems but can’t quite pinpoint it. IBS causes misery for countless people and they are usually embarrassed about looking for help.
The low FODMAP diet
Wait for it – FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo, Di and Monosaccharides and Polyols (!) but don’t worry about the name… The thing is, you may not be properly digesting these ‘sugars’, found in different fruits and vegetables, grains and milk. They end up in the large intestine where the resident bacteria have a field-day with them and produce gases. It’s these gases that can cause bloating, flatulence and changes in your normal bowel movements.
So the low FODMAP diet drastically reduces foods that are high in FODMAPs to help your IBS symptoms and allow the gut to heal.
How the low FODMAP diet works
The good news is that by cutting out some specific fruits and vegetables, grains and lactose (from dairy milk) you can get almost miraculous results! Symptoms can disappear in a matter of days for some people – then you can start to carefully re-introduce these foods and see how much (if any) of the foods you can tolerate. You can use good resources to help you with this, like food lists or an app you can use on your phone. Before you start, you should absolutely get professional help from a nutritionist or dietician to get you on the right track. Get in touch if you have any questions or to make an appointment.