IBS affects 15-20% of the population. IBS onset can be attributed by gastroenteritis, antibiotic use or gastrointestinal surgery, but a cause is not always known. It is likely that IBS is caused by a disruption to the intestinal microflora (bacteria). There is strong evidence that diet plays a role in the exacerbation of symptoms.
There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Depending on your symptom profile and your current fibre intake, your dietitian may need to increase or decrease your fibre intake or encourage a certain type of fibre to manage your symptoms.
Evidence suggests that short chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) in the diet can exacerbate IBS symptoms. These include fructose, lactose, fructo-oligosaccharides, galacto-oligosaccharides and polyols. A low FODMAP diet improves IBS symptoms in at least 75% of IBS patients, however, it is not a "one diet fits all" approach. A low FODMAP diet must be tailored to an individual's symptoms, with an emphasis on including fibre and prebiotic-rich foods to maintain gut health. A strict low FODMAP diet over the long term may have implications for gut health and as such our dietitians will work with you to ensure your diet is structured appropriately.
Some individual's are sensitive to natural and artificial food chemicals, found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, proteins and commercial products. Likelihood of food chemical intolerance is investigated by our dietitians when other approaches to IBS management have failed to provide relief, and generally with there is concurrent evidence of allergic disease such as eczema, urticaria or asthma. A low food chemical diet is highly restrictive and should only be done under dietitian guidance.
There are several other dietary components that have been demonstrated to exacerbate IBS symptoms. This includes, but is not limited to, capsaicin, caffeine, alcohol, fats and A1-b-casein.
Adequate fluid intake in the form of water is vital for bowel health. This may require attention, particularly if you suffer from constipation.
Our dietitians can examine the nutritional adequacy of your diet, consider fibre intake in addition to a variety of possible food triggers including FODMAPs, food chemicals, and others. We then guide you through dietary elimination and rechallenge in order to determine your individual food triggers, whilst optimising gut health.
We are known for our expertise in gastro-intestinal (gut / bowel) nutrition, however, every member of our team has their own additional, specialty areas.