Irritable Bowel Syndrome seems to be a label that doctors give to a digestive disorder that has not been identified as anything else such as ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease etc.
This condition is characterised by chronic and relapsing symptoms; lower abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, wind, distension and altered bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation) but with no abnormal pathology.
Unfortunately, there did not seem to be an effective treatment programme offered in my patient’s surgery for this painful and uncomfortable disorder and the variety of drugs had been prescribed over the years which did not seem to get to the root cause of why she was suffering in such a way.
As a Nutritional Therapist, I am required by my Professional Body: The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) to maintain abreast of the latest research within the world of Nutrition. The research team at Monash University have developed a diet to control gastrointestinal symptoms associated with IBS. The team has focused on a group of carbohydrates they have named FODMAPs (stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides,Disaccharides, Mono-saccharides andPolyols).
FODMAPs can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Mal-absorbed carbohydrates are fermented by gut bacteria to produce gas. Current research strongly suggests that this group of carbohydrates contributes to IBS symptoms. FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods.
So this is the direction I decided to recommend to my patient. Despite knowing that it was not an easy diet to maintain as it is quite restrictive I decided to present it to her in a positive way and focus on the fact that it would potentially reduce her painful symptoms over time and that her commitment to it would depend on the results.
As a patient she was amazing and followed everything as recommended. I felt that her suffering since the age of 18 years had something to do with this as she was now in her thirties, a wife and mother and fed up with living a half hearted existence.
The results were a reflection on her commitment, after about 5 weeks all of her IBS symptoms were gone!
As a blogger, she has happily shared her experience with the world so feel free to click the link below to read about her time on the FODMAP diet.