Over the last few months I’ve been helping my partner manage a low FODMAP diet to treat anxiety, depression, bloating and discomfort partially via helping address his gut dysbiosis. It’s meant saying goodbye to garlic and onion (among other things) and adopting a new regime. It’s been challenging at times but the result has been a huge reduction in his IBS symptoms, anxiety and disrupted sleep. I’ve even felt better and have really enjoyed modifying recipes to ensure they’re low in FODMAPs while still tasting delicious. We’re still reintroducing and testing foods in the hope he only reacts to a small number of FOMAPs, meaning the longterm disruption of his (and my) diet will be minimised. The aim of the diet is not to eliminate these foods forever but to identify which ones in what quantities are causing problems.
Some of my recipes on the blog are FODMAP friendly and I’ll be sharing more of my partner’s favourites over the next few months. This diet is not a cure-all for everyone but definitely worth looking into if you tick any of the boxes below [see ‘how do I know if I have IBS’]…
While I can offer some guidance as a nutritionist, if you believe you have IBS I strongly recommend you visit a doctor with an interest in this field who can diagnose you (please contact me via the form below for a recommendation on the Sunshine Coast). As always I encourage you to be very aware of how certain foods impact your body so you can use your intuition to make intelligent choices. It really helps to keep a food diary and note down when you’ve had an adverse reaction so you can start to see patterns and steer clear of anything that doesn’t agree with you. Awareness is key!
This video explains in short what FODMAPs are and how they affect some people’s digestion. For more information on this diet, visit Monash University’s Facebook page or their website. They are the brains behind the system and have developed an amazing app to help patients manage the diet.
How do I know if I have IBS?
Symptoms vary from one individual to another and can be worse for some than others. It is a very common condition affecting around one in five adults. An assessment for IBS should be considered if you have had any of the following symptoms for at least six months: abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, or change in bowel habit.
A diagnosis of IBS should be considered only if there is abdominal pain or discomfort that is either relieved by defaecation or associated with a change in bowel habit. This should be accompanied by at least two of the following four symptoms:
- altered stool passage (straining, urgency, incomplete evacuation)
- abdominal bloating (more common in women than men), distension, tension or hardness
- symptoms made worse by eating
- passage of mucus.Other features such as lethargy, nausea, backache and bladder symptoms are common in people with IBS, and may be used to support the diagnosis. It is important to have a diagnosis of IBS confirmed and other conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease ruled out. Four reasons to consult your doctor for referral to see a specialist are where you have possible IBS symptoms and any of the following:
See your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- unintentional and unexplained weight loss
- rectal bleeding
- a family history of bowel or ovarian cancer
- a change in bowel habit to looser and/or more frequent stools persisting for more than six weeks in a person aged over 60 years.Talk to your GP about having a blood test to rule out coeliac disease prior to making any changes to your diet.