The other day I asked members of my Facebook group to see how many people suffer with IBS symptoms like gas, bloating, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and cramps.
A number of people put their hand up because unfortunately, IBS is very common.
I put my hand up, as well, because I’ve been coping with IBS since I was a teenager. Over the years, I would have flare-ups that would prevent me from leaving the house and you would find me in pain lying on the couch and having regular trips to the bathroom (NOT FUN!). I would never know when it would strike and it always seemed like it happened at a time where I needed to be at my best.
Studies show it could affect as many as 13-20% of Canadians at any given time. I will also say that that number is low because only 40% of sufferers seek medical attention.
Hmmm… that tells me it’s a lot more common than we think.
If you’re not sure that you have it then you can click here and answer a few questions to see if it’s something worth pursuing and seeing a doctor about. The IBS symptoms are uncomfortable and when you have regular flare-ups, it can be very isolating but it doesn’t have to be, there are treatments available.
“It was something I ate”
It probably was but anxiety and stress can aggravate things. Foods we eat definitely have something to do with those symptoms but do you know why?
There are these things called FODMAPs ( stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols”)
They are dietary sugars and these sugars can be poorly absorbed in the small intestines and fermented by bacteria that produce gas. Research from Monash University suggests that this group of sugars contributes to all those IBS symptoms.
The good news is that 76% of people following the low FODMAPs diet report having improvement with their symptoms.
FODMAPs are broken down into different categories.
- Polyols – Sorbitol and Mannitol
By testing your tolerance to each FODMAP categories individually, you’ll be able to determine the ones that have the greatest negative impact on your symptom. You can avoid those foods, and not worry so much about the ones that don’t make a big difference.
“It’s so confusing! Why bother?”
The thing is… if you are having problems digesting foods, you could also find yourself struggling to lose weight, find you are getting sick frequently, or you don’t have a lot of energy and find you have a lot of ‘brain fog’. That’s because your body isn’t absorbing the nutrients from the food you are eating. It would be like trying to drive with watered down gas in your car; it would run but NOT well!
It’s not so bad… when you have help.
When I first decided to try the low FODMAP diet I was a little overwhelmed. Where do I begin? How much effort do I have to put into this and is it going to be difficult to stick to?
The answer to that is, find someone to help you and it won’t be so bad. You will have to put some effort into the planning stages but with a little preparation, it’s easier than you think.
One thing I do a lot of and that’s research. I found this great site where I was able to find information, recipes, and support to help me navigate the different phases that will ultimately help me know which foods are the biggest culprits of my discomfort. I have been in the Elimination Phase for a few weeks and I am happy to report that I am finally able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Next, I will be entering the Challenging Phase. That’s where I will be re-introducing foods and paying attention to my body’s reaction so I can learn what sets my body off kilter.
Know who to ask!
Like anything in life, if it’s worth it, it’s worth taking the time. You can certainly continue to go through life suffering with the flare-ups as they happen or you could decide to take some time to learn what your triggers are and make your life a whole lot more comfortable.
You can always start with an experiment and try Going Grain FREE. See how you feel before you decide to take the next step.
When you are ready, Julie O’Hara over at Calm Belly Kitchen has already done the hard work for you and built a community around the programs that make the whole process easier. The cost is minimal for the relief you are going to feel. I highly recommend it.