Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
One of the areas I feel very passionate about is IBS, where I have experienced first-hand the dramatic effect this can have on an individual’s quality of life. IBS is a common bowel condition which can lead to unpleasant symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, wind, and altered bowel habits. There is currently no one single effective treatment for IBS but a combination of diet and lifestyle approaches have been shown to help. I am trained in both 1st and 2nd line IBS dietary management, which includes the low FODMAP diet.
First Line Management
This relates to simple diet and lifestyle approaches which may help to ease symptoms. Some of these include:
Stress and anxiety management
Adopting a regular eating pattern
Not skipping meals, eating too quickly or eating late at night
Limiting alcohol intake
Reducing intake of caffeine containing drinks
Ensuring adequate fluids
Cutting down on rich or fatty foods
Reducing intake of manufactured foods
Limiting fresh fruit to three portions per day
Second Line Management
Second line IBS management relates to the low FODMAP diet. Certain groups of carbohydrates are either poorly absorbed or poorly digested in the small intestine. They then move into the large intestine, where they can ferment with gut bacteria leading to gas producing symptoms. Excess fluid can also be drawn into the large intestine, leading to altered bowel habits.
What are FODMAPs?
Oligosaccharides - Fructans and Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS), e.g. onions, garlic, wheat, rye, barley, beans and pulses)
Disaccharides – Lactose, e.g. milk and milk products
Monosaccharides – Fructose, e.g. honey, various fruit and vegetables
Polyols - Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, e.g. sugar free mints/gum, various fruit and vegetables
FODMAPs are found in a range of different foods, including ones that are considered healthy
How does the low FODMAP diet work?
The aim of this diet is to swap high FODMAP foods for similar low FODMAP alternatives, for a short period of time. Individual high FODMAP foods are then gradually reintroduced, as a way to identify specific foods which may be triggering symptoms. The 3 stages of the diet are:
Evidence has shown that a low FODMAP diet is an effective treatment and could improve gut symptoms by up to 70%. This diet can be quite restrictive and complex therefore support from a trained FODMAP dietitian is strongly recommended.
You can find many variations of the low FODMAP diet online, however I use the Kings College version which is based on the most up to date research evidence.
Please click on the video link to find out more https://youtu.be/GFvApZN3bEw