IBS and the Low FODMAP Diet
Are you familiar with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)? IBS affects 3-15% of the Western population.1 It isn’t uncommon for people with IBS to go without being diagnosed. What is IBS you ask? IBS is a disorder of the GI system that involves a disruption of the communication system between the brain and gut. Symptoms include abdominal discomfort or pain, altered bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea, or both), and bloating.
I’m not going to get too much into the nitty gritty details… this is an excellent blog post by dietitian Andrea Hardy further explaining what IBS is and how it is diagnosed.
I am officially done with my dietetic internship (whoo!), so I will be spending the next few weeks studying for the RD exam (the national exam required to become a Registered Dietitian). The completion of my internship has also allowed me to practice a little self-care and meet with a gastroenterologist (a physician that specializes in gut health). I’m still waiting on the results of my blood tests, but I received an unofficial IBS diagnosis based on my symptoms (ironically diagnosed during IBS Awareness Month). As a newly diagnosed IBS sufferer, I will be completing an elimination diet to discover any foods that may make my symptoms worse so I can avoid (or eat less of) these in the future.
This elimination diet includes following a low-FODMAP diet for 1-2 weeks followed by a testing period for different foods from each category. FODMAP’s stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are a group of carbohydrates that are not absorbed well by the gut. Someone with IBS who eats these carbohydrates may experience the symptoms mentioned above. Resources I will be using to complete the elimination diet include dietitian Kate Scarlata’s 7-Day Low FODMAP Starter Kit, as well as resources from dietitian Patsy Catsos, both of which are FODMAPs experts. Additionally, I purchased the MONASH University app to help guide me when planning and shopping for low FODMAPs foods.
If you are interested in following my journey, I will be posting regularly (hopefully daily) about the process. This includes what I will be eating each day, as well as any extra insights and info along the way!
If you have IBS or suspect you have IBS, please consult with your physician or Registered Dietitian. Without guidance, the low FODMAP diet can be difficult to follow and can also lead to deficiencies in the diet.
- Escott-Stump, S. (2015). Nutrition & Diagnosis-Related Care (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.