I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), diagnosed in 1994. Back then there was very little in the way of treatment. I found medication expensive & ineffectual. Doctors said eat more fibre, cut out dairy, alcohol & purchase elastic waisted pants... I was 23. Fibre made it worse, cutting out dairy & alcohol made absolutely no difference. It didn’t matter what, when or how much I ate, I was unable to predict what would cause my symptoms to flare. In 2017 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have IBS symptoms even if undiagnosed.
In 2005, researchers @ Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University in Australia identified a group of short-chain carbohydrates found in food that are either poorly absorbed in the small intestine or impossible to digest. The Monash team named these carbohydrates FODMAPs, an acronym which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.
The researchers measured the FODMAP content of a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables, breads, cereals, nuts, legumes, dairy products & processed foods. This food composition information allowed the team to develop the first low FODMAP diet. They used this low FODMAP diet in the first research studies which showed that a low FODMAP diet reduces symptoms in people with IBS. It’s also helped those with Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis and ‘non-coeliac gluten sensitivity’ or ‘NCGS’.
I adopted this diet & it made a tremendous difference to my lifestyle. I’ve since meet numerous people that also follow a FODMAP diet. It helped reset my gut & have found I don’t need to be as strict these days. When I relapse I know why & how to remedy it. This research changed my life. The diagnosis of IBS/FGID should be made by a medical practitioner.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by chronic, relapsing symptoms including lower abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, wind, distension and altered bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation) but with no abnormal pathology.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are a group of sugars that are not completely digested or absorbed in our intestines. When FODMAPs reach the small intestine, they move slowly, attracting water. When they pass into the large intestine, FODMAPs are fermented by gut bacteria, producing gas as a result. The extra gas and water cause the intestinal wall to stretch and expand. Because people with IBS have a highly sensitive gut, ‘stretching’ the intestinal wall causes exaggerated sensations of pain and discomfort.
Put simply, FODMAPs are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can trigger symptoms in people with IBS. FODMAPs are found naturally in many foods and food additives.
Visit the Monash University FODMAP website for more information & support (www.monashfodmap.com).
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