It is diagnosed with abdominal pain/discomfort that lasts at least three days a month for the last three months without a known cause. Symptoms can include the following: Bloating, reflux, excess gas, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and fatigue. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and it is common for symptoms to be present often or get worse for a few weeks and then decrease for a while. The discomfort of IBS can usually be relieved by a bowel movement. It is important that you work closely with your doctor in order to rule out more serious causes for your symptoms before IBS is diagnosed. IBS can be a lifelong condition and symptoms can be debilitating for many by reducing their ability to work, travel and attend social events. Recently, high FODMAP foods have been investigated to possibly be the cause of symptom development. FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. These are short-chained carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestines causing discomfort and bloating. This occurs because FODMAPs are osmotically active; this means they pull water into the intestinal tract and as large amounts of FODMAPs are fermented in the gut, symptoms can develop in people sensitive to these effects, such as those with IBS. There are five categories of high FODMAP foods to include the following: Fructose: Fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup Lactose: Dairy foods Galactans: Lentils, legumes Polyols: Sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and stone fruits There has been some success in relieving symptoms of IBS in people that limit some of these foods. However, a low FODMAP diet can be difficult to follow low in fiber and limiting in some essential nutrients. Michigan State University Extension recommends you work with a registered dietitian in order to help customize a diet plan that works best for you. Most dietitians will recommend eliminating high FODMAP foods for four to six weeks, but you will usually see symptom improvement within one to two weeks.
FODMAPs: The Diet You Never Knew Could Cure Your Tummy Troubles
The name was created by Australian researchers who realized that a low FODMAP diet helped up to 75% of their patients, says Patsy Catsos, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian with a private practice focused on gastrointestinal health. She is the author ofIBSFree at Last! Second Edition(2012) and the editor of http://www.ibsfree.net . Patsy explains that examples of FODMAPS include: Lactose (also known as milk sugar, found in milk, yogurt and ice cream) Fructose (also known as fruit sugar, found in fruit, high-fructose corn syrup, honey and agave syrup) Sorbitol, mannitol, and other -ol sweeteners (found in certain fruits and vegetables as well as some types of sugar-free gums and candies) Fructans (a type of fiber found in wheat, onions, garlic and chicory root) GOS (a type of fiber found in beans, hummus and soy milk) Catsos adds that the novelty of the FODMAP approach is recognizing how the big picture [of overall diet] can be used to create a strategy for managing IBS symptoms.I struggle with IBS myself, and I first became aware of the diet by reading the healthy living blog Hungry Hungry Hippie . Its author (and fellow IBS sufferer and nurse),Elise Dieden, says she was hesitant to treat her IBS with medication: After a few months of looking into FODMAPs, I decided to give it ashot. The symptoms certainly matched mine and everything I read feltlike it was personally directed at me. She continues: I did a two week elimination phase (no FODMAPs) inSeptember 2011andsince then Ive been maintaining (with a low FODMAPs plan). I havebad days where I slip up, but its much easier now that I know why Imhaving GI problems and how to fix it. Having the knowledge to correctthe issue and feel better is so empowering. I no longer getfrustrated with my body because the painful symptoms arent random. Idefinitely feel like discovering FODMAPs has made the biggestdifference in improving my GI health. Sounds great, right? So why arent more people trying a low FODMAPs diet to treat their IBS? Well, mainly because its largely unknown here in the United States. Patsy Catsos herselffirst became aware of the diet five years ago, in 2007: I developed my own materials based on what I could glean from the medical literature trickling out of Australia, and they were an immediate success in my practice. Some patients were ecstatic with the way they felt after just a few days on the diet, and I got better at identifying good candidates.