Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a catch all term i.e. a term used to include a range of symptoms which although uncomfortable, and certainly impact our quality of life, are not considered harmful.
Symptoms: Diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, and stomach gurgling are just some of the symptoms.
Treatment: the first step in treatment of IBS is to find out if a person’s lifestyle is the biggest concern. After this, specific food based interventions can be discussed. Fibre, alcohol, caffeine, lactose, fructose, gluten may all impact, and it is the remit of the dietitian to consider the best way forward.
Low FODMAPs Diet: recent research from Australia also suggests a low FODMAP diet, when achieved with the support of a dietitian, can be helpful in managing IBS symptoms. This particular diet has been shown to achieve improvement in symptoms in around 80% of trial participants (no mean feat) so is definitely worth a trial – participants most able to adhere closely to the diet achieve best outcomes.
The low FODMAP diet is not always necessary but if it is then the appointment series is as below:
- Elimination Diet (6 – 8 weeks)
- Food Challenge Diet ( 8+ weeks)
- Optimising the Diet
Optimising the Diet: because many individuals arrive with a diet that is already excluding food groups it is important to ensure that nutritional needs are met during and after nutritional intervention.
Aim: the aim of all dietetic intervention is for the client to feel they understand how best to manage their symptoms or condition, and that their diet is not compromised from a nutritional perspective.