This post is brutally honest because well, I have suffered gastrointestinal symptoms in the past to the point where I don’t want to leave the house. And I know that many of you also suffer them. I want to share my experience and a possible solution with you so that if you suffer from these symptom you can do something about it!
Have you ever left the house with perfectly fitting pants and by 3pm your stomach is protruding like you are in the early stages of pregnancy and your top button will no longer do up?
Or suffered from painfully embarrassing gas when out with friends and you have no idea why?
Well there could be a few reasons, most of which can be treated with an elimination diet (prescribed by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian) to find out what exactly is irritating your bowels.
So my experience went a little bit like this: pain, embarrassment and bloating to the point where I was fed up (and had been asked if I was pregnant) and went to see a specialist. He suggested I follow a Low FODMAP diet prescribed by a dietitian. (lucky me)
So I did some research and this is what I found out.
FODMAP is an acronym referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. So what do all these words mean? Basically they are a collection of molecules in food that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine in some people (including me).
When consumed these poorly absorbed molecules move through the digestive tract and act as a food source for naturally occurring bacteria in the large intestine. When the bacteria consume these sugars fermentation occurs resulting in gas, bloating, cramping and other symptoms associated with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
There are a number of different foods that contain FODMAPS and they are grouped into Excess fructose (e.g. apples, honey) Fructans (e.g. onion, garlic), Lactose (e.g. milk, soft cheese) Galacto-oligosaccharides (e.g. beans, chickpeas) and Polyols (e.g. avocado and sweetners)
A more in depth list of FODMAP containing foods is here.
It’s important to note that not all foods/different amounts of foods will initiate intolerance symptoms as everyone is different.
So what is the next step?
If you suffer from these symptoms and some of these foods ring a bell then it’s worth speaking to your doctor to rule out any other options and getting a referral for a dietitian. What the dietitian will do is put you on an elimination diet for 6-8 weeks. After this stage they will start re-introducing foods dependent on how you react to the first stage of the diet.
It is important to seek professional help when doing this diet to ensure you are not missing out on any important nutrients. If you wish to book an appointment please do so here.
I can say from experience that this really helped me. I am feeling much better and no longer need to worry about whether or not my pants will fit at the end of the day!
I hope it helps some of you too!
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