We all have problems with our gut at times, and not everyone opens their bowels like clockwork daily. But some of us have more problems than others, maybe we’re constipated or have diarrhoea or even a mix of both, changing daily with no clear pattern. Sometimes we could have pain in our gut, it might even sound like a gurgling washing machine or sink, might be bloated or passing of wind from either end. These problems can all be symptoms of a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and it can affect around 10-20% of us at any one time. But these symptoms also overlap with several other serious health conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, bowel cancer and endometriosis. So, before you hit google and self-diagnose it is very important that you get your symptoms checked out by your GP and your IBS properly and medically diagnosed.
But what can you can do once you have the diagnosis? Hit google again? If you do you will probably come across the low FODMAP, in fact your GP may have even mentioned it. They might even have given you an A4 sheet on how to do it. However, there are many other things that you should look at before attempting to follow a low FODMAP diet. Probably the best thing you could do is talk to a registered dietitian who is an expert in helping people manage their IBS.
If you choose this option a dietitian would talk to you about meal patterns, how much caffeine and fluid you drink, your fruit and vegetable intake (not always advising you to eat more) and how much fibre you have. There are other things that might also be affecting these IBS symptoms include as stress, exercise, sleep, illness, medication and gut microbiota. Dealing with these things is always recommended before starting a low FODMAP diet.
So, should you have a go at the low FODMAP diet on your own? Definitely not, whether it’s medically diagnosed or not. It is therapeutic treatment for IBS but it isn’t suitable for everyone. An expert dietitian can help you to understand if it might work for you. They can also help make sure the diet is nutritionally adequate. Once symptoms resolve a dietitian can help you through the very complex phase of challenging with FODMAPs, helping to find out which ones are causing problems and finally help you to follow a diet that is nutritionally balanced and controls your symptoms for the long term.
If you would like to talk to an expert Dietitian about your IBS and what specialist treatments might be available, please contact Sunlight Nutrition NOW on 07414 641026. We are proud to have one of only 5 dietitians in the UK certified by World IBS leaders, Monash University, working for us.
Dr Lynda Rigley PhD RD
HCPC Registered Freelance Dietitian
Sunlight Nutrition Limited