The low-FODMAP diet is a complex diet and removes many nutrient-rich foods from the table, which is somewhat unpleasant. But many people with IBS have found that it helps with their symptoms, so it has become * the * diet plan prescribed by the gastrointestinal tract to many people who enter their office with bloating, constipation or diarrhea.
Even if you have not officially received a low FODMAP, if you have IBS you may have tried to avoid flare-ups by cutting out certain foods such as gluten or dairy. While scientific studies have shown that certain foods can make IBS symptoms worse, a new study has found that foods may play a lesser role in its management than people have long believed. Posted in Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers found that cutting out gluten and FODMAPs did not really help with the symptoms and so much. The researchers divided a group of 110 people with IBS into two groups. One group fully approved FODMAP foods and gluten-free foods. The other team did not. They found that FODMAP foods appeared to worsen symptoms, but not as much as previously thought by researchers. As for gluten? It did not seem to work in any case.
This is a small study. just 110 people. There are also other studies out there that have found that cutting FODMAPs and gluten may be beneficial for IBS. But what the study makes clear is that IBS management is not just about food. Here, two gastroenterologists explain why diet is only part of the solution.
What causes IBS?
Before considering the best way to treat IBS, it is helpful to know exactly what IBS is. “Irritable bowel syndrome has formal diagnostic criteria that must be met in order to be formally diagnosed,” says gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, MD. Basically, this official diagnostic criterion asks a lot of questions about your bad. How does it look, how often do you go, if you are in pain … “There is a calculator that takes [symptoms] takes into account and helps determine if it meets a formal diagnosis, “says Dr. Singh. Gastroenterologist Rabia De Latour, MD, adds that there are also subcategories, IBS-Diarrhea and IBS-Constipation.
This is important to know because it shows that IBS is not just someone with any kind of digestive discomfort, if doctors can not figure out what else it could be. certain criteria must be met. If you think you may have IBS, consult a gastroenterologist to find out for sure.
Although there are clear, definite criteria for what IBS is, both experts say that what causes it is less simple. “IBS is multifaceted; it’s not that simple,” says Dr. Singh. “Eating, stress, sleep and other lifestyle factors have been found to affect the microbiome, causing problems that eventually lead to a diagnosis of IBS.” Dr. De Latour says that one factor that scientific studies have found particularly associated with IBS is stress. “There is a very strong link between IBS and mental health,” he says. “It is well documented by many gastroenterologists that a person who experiences a lot of personal stress or anxiety has worse IBS symptoms.” He adds that it is another example of how interconnected the mind and the gut really are.
This is exactly why both GI documents say that food is just one part of the solution for managing IBS.
How to manage IBS other than changing what you eat
If you have IBS, Dr. Singh and Dr. De Latour says stress management should be part of the solution. “The brain has a direct effect on the composition of the microbiome. If you feel anxious on a regular basis, this can not only change the composition of the bacteria in the gut, but it can also make the digestive system work faster or slower,” he said. Dr. Singh explains. “This can lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea or bloating.” If you’ve ever experienced any unpleasant belly problems before a big show or meeting, you have seen this strong connection first hand.
This is why both doctors advise to find some way to manage stress and anxiety on a regular basis. They say this will look different to different people. Maybe your sedative goes for a run in the countryside after work. Maybe it’s breathing or stretching exercises. It could be a luxury shower gel. The key is to find something. Many of these stress relievers have been scientifically found to help improve IBS symptoms, such as yoga and meditation. Others still need to be studied to confirm the connection. (Where is the registration sheet for the luxury bathroom study?) But both doctors say stress management is the key.
Of course, if you experience regular flare-ups after eating, the simple act of feeding yourself can be stressful. If this is the case for you, Dr. De Latour suggests working with a therapist other than a gastroenterologist, especially someone who specializes in eating disorders. These experts can give you tips on how to really enjoy your meal instead of stressing it out, while also making sure you get the nutrients your body needs.
In addition to managing your stress, Dr. Singh says making sure you get enough sleep is also important for managing IBS. “Disorders in the sleep cycle are another factor that can change the microbiome,” he says. According to him, scientific studies have found that some people with IBS also have a sleep disorder.
If you are on medication, Dr. De Latour says this is something else to watch out for, as some may worsen IBS symptoms. For example, some painkillers, cough medicines and antidepressants can make the symptoms worse. For this reason, he says it is important to tell your primary care physician (or other specialists) that you have IBS before taking a prescription drug. IBS is not just something you should discuss with a GI doctor.
So what about food? Does it still play a role in the management of IBS? Both doctors say it does – not just the only role. “The low-FODMAP diet is not meant to be followed forever because it excludes many healthy foods, so I work with patients introducing FODMAP foods too late, keeping them watching how different subgroups feel.” Says Dr. Singh.
What is clear is that caring for your gut goes beyond diet. you also need to take care of your mental health. This is the only way you can prevent IBS from living your best life. The most encouraging news of all is that can to manage. It just takes a little extra self-care — and that’s something everyone can benefit from.
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