Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

As reported by Monash University, IBS affects one in seven people. Pain and discomfort experienced by people with IBS arises due to disturbances in the stretching and contraction of the intestine muscles (gut motility) and/or heightened gut sensitivity. 

Currently, there is no test available for IBS, as symptoms generally play an important role in a positive diagnosis. Similar symptoms can overlap with other conditions such as coeliac disease, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticular disease and intestinal cancers. Thus, medical input is required to rule out these conditions prior to commencing a low FODMAP diet.

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP is an acronym which stands for Fermentable Oligo- Di- Mono-saccharides And Polyols. FODMAP’s (also known as sugars) have different actions in the gut and are found in a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, processed foods and beverages. 

Most people eat high FODMAP foods on a daily basis without issue. However, individuals with IBS may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, excessive passing of wind and/or distension. 

Following a low FODMAP diet for six weeks has been shown to reduce abdominal pain and discomfort, reduce bloating, regulate bowel habits and improve quality of life. 

how can I help?
I am currently trained on the use of a low FODMAP diet for IBS by Monash University. Hence, I will start by implementing a low FODMAP diet incorporating fruits, vegetables, cereal products and other sugar containing foods. My resources clearly and easily outline foods to be avoided, as focus is given to the ‘allowed’ low FODMAP options. Following this, I will be systematically introducing FODMAP ‘challenges’ to test for each subgroup separately. Symptoms will then be recorded according to the FODMAP being challenged.

I will then be interpreting challenge responses so that FODMAPs can be personalised. This would therefore allow for poorly tolerated foods to be restricted at a level only needed to maintain symptom control. To further help, I will be providing guidance when using the Monash University Phone App including food guides and sensitivity filters.
- Monash University: The Low FODMAP Diet
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