Bloating, abdominal pain, and altered stool consistency are hallmarks of IBS aka irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is thought to affect 7-15% of the worldwide population . This condition is more likely to be found in women and is usually diagnosed before the age of 50 years [2,3].
Nutrition & Life have several IBS Dietitians that support you implement the Low FODMAP diet successfully. It can be a challenging diet to stick to on your own so we are there every step of the way to give you the best chance of success. Many of our NZ clients are happy they worked with us as it has made it much easier to manage their IBS and the Low FODMAP diet.
The below covers important information about IBS treatment and diagnosis in New Zealand and the Low FODMAP diet. You can also read more here in our Irritable Bowel Syndrome page.
Many NZ women and men struggle to get a diagnosis for IBS and it often goes undiagnosed . The diagnosis of IBS is, and should be, made by a medical practitioner. If you suspect you have IBS then see you GP to have this investigated. If you're diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome, or another condition we specailise in, then they can then refer you to us or let them know you would like to be referred to Nutrition & Life. Alternatively, once you are diagnosed you can approach us directly.
The symptoms of IBS can cause significant stress and anxiety without proper support. Poor management of IBS can impact your quality of life and interfere with daily activities. As mentioned above, bloating and significant digestive discomfort are common IBS symptoms.
Without education and recognition of triggers, IBS sufferers regularly experience uncomfortable symptoms. FODMAPs are the main trigger of symptoms for those with IBS. Completing a FODMAPs protocol with a trained Dietitian can lead to symptom improvement in 20-40% of individuals with IBS.
As FODMAPs are found in a variety of foods it can be tempting to pursue a low FODMAP diet individually and restrict all FODMAP sources. However, there are risks and considerations that a trained Dietitian will be able to look out for before deciding whether a low FODMAP diet is best for you.
As everyone with IBS is individual in their symptom profile and triggers, the FODMAP diet needs to also be personalised. As the low FODMAP diet is not designed to be a long-term diet, it is ideal for your Dietitian to map out the best course of action including the length of duration as well as the level of restriction needed for each phase of the diet.
Before a FODMAPs protocol, a Dietitian will likely ask you to keep track of your symptoms in a food and symptom diary. This can be a useful tool throughout the Low FODMAP protocol and before starting. Take note of the types and amount of food you’re eating and any symptoms as well that pop up day- to-day. Pay special attention to the timing of your food intake, the timing of symptoms as well as the symptom severity. This is a great first step to help your Dietitian analyse where to start in your IBS journey.
Before it can get better, we need a baseline! While it may seem like a great idea to remove any food groups or FODMAP sources, this will interfere with nutrition therapy with your Dietitian. They need to get an idea of the baseline symptoms you experience without intervention, and they may suggest you return to your normal diet before starting any intervention.
So, before jumping into any dietary changes use the following checklist to guide your actions:
1) Book an appointment with your GP
2) Get a Proper diagnosis from a gastroenterologist confirming IBS
3) Keep a food and symptom diary for 3 days and see if you can notice any obvious triggers
4) Get in touch with a Dietitian to see if you’re suitable for a Low FODMAP diet
Following this checklist and not jumping into the FODMAP diet alone will ensure you have the proper clinical support during your IBS journey and reduce any medical risks or nutritional deficiencies. There are certain nuances to the FODMAP diet and IBS that only a trained professional knows. These are best shared with you in a safe clinical environment.
Now you can see there are many benefits to working with an experienced Dietitian who specialises in IBS treatment. In addition all our team are experts in Digestive Health and Gut Health as well.
Most of our Dietitians are trained in the Low FODMAP diet from Monash University. The world-renowned Monash University research department discovered FODMAPs in 2005 and the leading source of knowledge for the Low FODMAP diet and training on the topic.
If you are interested in learning more about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or the Low FODMAP Diet then book in for your free 15 minute call.
It's an investment in your health and quality of life. If we've learned anything in the last few years it's health is wealth.
1. Sperber, A.D., et al., The global prevalence of IBS in adults remains elusive due to the heterogeneity of studies: a Rome Foundation working team literature review. Gut, 2016.
2. American College of Gastroenterology Task Force on Irritable Bowel, S., et al., An evidence-based position statement on the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol, 2009. 104Suppl 1: p. S1-35.
3. Agarwal, N. and B.M. Spiegel, The effect of irritable bowel syndrome on health-related quality of life and health care expenditures. Gastroenterol Clin North Am, 2011. 40(1): p. 11-9.
4. Hungin AP, Whorwell PJ, Tack J, et al. The prevalence, patterns and impact of irritable bowel syndrome: an international survey of 40,000 subjects. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2003;17:643-50
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