You don’t have to silently put up with IBS symptoms. The low FODMAP diet can greatly improve your quality of life.
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that manifests itself in a number of gut-related symptoms. IBS is characterized by symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, intestinal gas issues, change in bowel habits like diarrhea or constipation, etc. Affecting one in every five people in the United States alone, this condition may turn into a debilitating one, and generally leads to a reduced quality of life.
There are a number of treatment options that are used for improving the symptoms faced by IBS patients. These treatment therapies include many types of medications, laxatives, bulking agents, changes in lifestyle, etc. The idea that IBS is caused by or aggravated by the consumption of certain foods is a much-debated one. Most people suffering from IBS find that consuming certain foods causes their symptoms to exacerbate. With this in mind, many doctors use a strict diet as one of the means to manage the many symptoms of IBS. The primary treatment approach is to zero in on the foods that trigger IBS symptoms and then systematically cut them out from the patient’s diet.
A research team from Australia has created a new approach for dietary management for IBS patients. Known as the Low FODMAP Diet, this approach is aimed at reducing and controlling the symptoms that are routinely associated with IBS. The National Therapeutic Guidelines of Australia have already adopted the Low FODMAP Diet as the primary IBS management strategy, and the rest of the world is also seeing the benefits of going on this diet.
What You Need to Know About the FODMAP Concept
In order to understand the FODMAP concept, it is important to understand what we eat and how it is processed by our bodies. Carbohydrates are present in a number of different food items, and that too in a number of forms. In general, long-chain carbohydrates such as starch as well as simple sugars like glucose are very easy to process. Our bodies are designed to accept and process these forms of carbs quickly, so that they are digested and absorbed in the bloodstream and energy is released into the system. However, there are a few long-chain carbs such as fiber and resistant starch that are difficult to digest. These carbs also play a very important role in the functioning of our digestive system. They are needed for proper stool formation, as well as to ensure that the bowel functions normally.
According to the Australian research team that did the IBS study, there exists a group of short-chain carbohydrates that create difficulties for those who have IBS. These carbs are grouped under the term FODMAPs which stands for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Poorly absorbed by the small intestine, these short-chain carbs are also fermented by the gut bacteria at a very rapid pace. This results in excessive production of gas that is one of the primary symptoms of IBS. According to the study, three-quarters of the patients who went on a low FODMAP diet showed a significant improvement in their IBS symptoms simply by restricting the amount of food that contains FODMAPs. Subsequently, many other high profile studies with larger sample sizes also showed the same results.
Furthermore, a low FODMAP diet was seen to be effective even in people who suffered from inactive forms of the inflammatory bowel disease. Other patients who had had their colons removed for medical reasons also found that the problem of recurrent loose stool production was greatly reduced. While a low FODMAP diet does not cure IBS, research shows that it definitely makes it easy to handle the symptoms of the condition without the use of external drugs. Such a diet is easy to customize so as to fit the specific requirements of a particular patient’s preferences and lifestyle.
Discover top tips for a healthy body and mind with our weekly wellbeing newsletter.
Join our mailing list today.