Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional gut disorder affecting 10-15% of the world’s population . “Among patients about 40% of people have mild IBS, 35% moderate IBS, and 25% severe IBS. Many people don’t recognise IBS symptoms. Yet, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one of the most common disorders seen by physicians.”
Those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome can experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhoea, in many cases having a significant impact on daily life. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also major women’s health issue. Data reveals an increased risk of unnecessary surgery for extra-abdominal and abdominal surgery in Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients. For example, hysterectomy or ovarian surgery has been reported in female patients with Irritable Bowel Syndromeas high as 47% to 55% and has been performed more often in the IBS patient than in comparison groups.
There are medications that can help manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, however lifestyle factors can also play a major role with increasing numbers of people turning to their diet to find symptom relief.
One of the best-researched dietary strategies in managing IBS symptoms is the low FODMAP diet, offering relief of symptoms in up to 86% of people that follow it. This diet does not ‘cure’ Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but does help a person with IBS work out the high-FODMAP foods that trigger their symptoms and how much of them can be tolerated.
Science-based evidence has found that a low FODMAP diet can help with the symptoms of IBS. The great news is that following a low FODMAP diet isn’t a lifetime change. It is about monitoring your tolerance to FODMAP-rich foods and finding a diet that suits you and your symptoms. Once you’re diagnosed with IBS, for optimal results, a dietitian can help you through a 3-step plan.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are carbohydrates that ferment in our gut and can lead to the symptoms of IBS in people that are hypersensitive.
The low FODMAP diet aims to reduce foods containing these carbohydrates for 2-6 weeks, before systematically re-introducing them to identify specific trigger foods. Following the low FODMAP diet for 2-6 weeks is usually long enough to see an improvement in symptoms, and it is recommended that the diet is only followed for this limited time due to the restrictive nature of the diet and risk for nutrient deficiencies longer-term.
A visit to a Dietitian is recommended before embarking on a low FODMAP diet. Our Dietitian at Brisbane Livewell Clinic will assess your symptoms, diet and lifestyle to identify areas that may be affecting your symptoms (e.g. caffeine, alcohol, fibre, eating patterns) and advise working on these first. If a low FODMAP diet is then recommended, our Dietitian will ensure that you have the knowledge and tools needed to make your low FODMAP diet a success and that your diet remains balanced.
No referral is required to see our Dietitian, however if you have a Chronic Disease Management Plan from your GP you are eligible for a Medicare rebate (currently $52.95) on your appointments.
If you would like to learn more about how changes to your diet may help relieve your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, book an appointment with our Dietitian today.