With around 22% of Australians suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, it’s no wonder there is so much interest in gut health, and how best to manage the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Symptom (IBS). Unfortunately I am in that 22%, so today I want to share with you my IBS story and we’ll hear from Chloe McLeod, an accredited practicing Australian dietitian specialising in IBS and food intolerances, who will share with us how to best manage IBS.
Amy’s IBS story
My gut issues started after I had salmonella poisoning a few years ago and I did manage them with removing dairy and gluten for a time then slowly reintroducing them again. However the last few months the symptoms have returned. I’m feeling very embarrassed and uncomfortable.
Although I look like I am pregnant in the pictures on the right, this is how my stomach now looks in the evening. The two pictures on the left are how my stomach looks in the morning. The last few months I’ve experienced ridiculous amounts of bloating and abdominal pain on a daily basis. I’ve also experienced other IBS symptoms including alternating diarrhoea and constipation, a sensation that the bowels are not fully emptied after passing a motion and most embarrassingly, passing the worst smelling wind (cringe worthy embarrassing). I’ve even not gone out because my IBS symptoms can get so bad. It’s a little out of hand.
I’ve worked out dairy, onion and garlic flares things up but I’m still bloated regularly so figured there must be something more. I’ve been to the GP and had a heap of tests and so far they are all clear (apart from low iron levels) so it has been put down to IBS again. So, on 10 February, I am going to start Chloe’s program, The FODMAP Challenge. If you would like to join me in this challenge I have a 10% off code for you: ‘EATPRAYWORKOUT’.
[Editors note (August 2017): To read more about my experiences of the course (discount code for you below) and where my IBS is at now – read this post about 5 things that surprised me about treating IBS with the low FODMAP diet ]
Now over to the expert, Chloe to answer a few IBS and fodmap questions.
So, how to manage IBS?
By reducing intake of high FODMAP foods, symptoms of IBS can clear up within a few weeks! This is where a low FODMAP diet comes into it. Research indicates that reducing consumption of FODMAPs is the most effective way of managing IBS.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, which are all different types of carbohydrates. These are either poorly absorbed or digested. When these are poorly absorbed, increased water may be drawn into the gut, which results in diarrhoea for some people. For others, the carbohydrates travel to the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria, which then produces gas. This gas can lead to additional symptoms of IBS including bloating, constipation, flatulence, pain and nausea.
It’s recommended to start with a strict low FODMAP diet, using it as a diagnostic tool. This is to help you to identify your trigger foods. Then, moving through a series of food challenges is essential to help determine which FODMAPs are your triggers. Most people aren’t intolerant to all types of FODMAP. An easy way to do this is by signing up to The FODMAP Challenge, which is run by experienced dietitians, to make the journey to better quality of life as simple as possible.
Are there any recommended steps before starting FODMAP management?
It is a good idea (particularly if wheat is a trigger for you) to get checked for coeliac disease prior to starting, if you haven’t been already. That said, it can often take a few months to get in to see your gastroenterologist to get the biopsy done; if this is the case, you’ll be able to do most of the other tests before hand, and simply reintroduce gluten back in early, leaving plenty of time to get the required biopsy done. If you’re unsure, have a chat with your GP.
Where to from here?
The FODMAP Challenge discount code
If you’re interested in determining your triggers of IBS, sign up to The FODMAP Challenge which begins 25 August 2017. Plus, with Amy’s special code ‘EATPRAYWORKOUT‘ you can get 10% off! If you’re unsure or want to read more about Amy’s honest advice to those who are undertaking the course following her completion of it – read this post.
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