With around 20% of Australians suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it’s no wonder there is so much interest in gut health. IBS symptoms can be unbearable and overwhelming so we have asked IBS specialist and FODMAP dietician Chloe Mcleod to share with us her tips best to manage the symptoms of IBS.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional gut disorder, which presents with symptoms of bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal pain. Individuals may live with all or some of these symptoms. Understandably, this can have a significant impact on quality of life
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, with approximately 75% of people responding positively and finding symptom improvement.
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 to 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 to get checked for coeliac disease prior to starting, if you haven’t been already. Also, ruling out bowel cancer, or inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative colitis first is also recommended.
Where to from here?
If you're interested in determining your triggers of IBS, Chloe invites you to sign up to The FODMAP
Challenge, simply visit www.chloemcleod.com
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