Is there a one size fits all IBS diet?
The quick answer is sort of and no. I know, that doesn’t really help. The reason for the hedging is because IBS is not a one size fits all syndrome. It is not a disease we can cure but rather, it’s a syndrome. It is definitely not a process of elimination diagnosis anymore. We can diagnose IBS from your symptoms alone, following strict criteria known as the Rome IV Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, each person’s set of symptoms responds differently to different foods and that’s what make is complicated.
Since the invention of the FODMAP diet by Dr. Peter Gibson and his crew at Monash University, for the better part of a decade people all over the world have been trialing and removing their offending foods with great success. But the key word here is trialing. IBS treatment with a FODMAP diet requires great patience and the experience of a FODMAP trained dietitian to help guide you through the intricacies of this dietis fundamental to it’s success.
Let me explain. Where one person may say— it’s garlic! Garlic is my offending food and as long as I stay away from garlic my symptoms are manageable and I can get on with my life! Another may not be so lucky. Some people notice that they are reactive to several categories for example, Fructan- grains and fructose + sorbitol and, they also notice that they have to limit too many high FODMAP foods within a 24 hour period. To make matters worse, some people also are so prone to constipation that their diet requires a regular input of laxative type foods. For these unfortunate folks, the low FODMAP diet requires great patience and perseverance and a skilled practitioner to guide you through the diet so that you can find the foods that you CAN eat!
Furthermore, top of mind in any diet needs to be the ever important microbiome— those critters in your colon that must be fed and must be fed well.
If you have watched the Microbiome Summit put on by a partnership through the University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and Genuine Health, you know how important the gut microbiome is to our overall health. Yes, we all have bugs living in our gut but it’s a good thing!
The great news is that with a diet focused on feeding the microbiome, we know it is possible to change the composition of those critters for the better. Especially in the area of mental health. So if your IBS diet is causing you stress which, in turn is making your IBS symptoms worse, hang in there. Putting in the effort to find the right IBS diet for you is well worth the effort— especially if the end goal is finding the right diet to feed your gut microbiome.
If you are willing to put in a bit of sweat equity, you will determine the right diet for you and your microbiome, and this will mean less stress for you! It’s a win/win! However, if putting in that sweat equity has you super frustrated and ready to scream, we have another option. It’s called Gut Directed Hypnotherapy.
Gut Directed Hypnotherapy is new to the scene of IBS treatment. Gut directed hypnotherapy is a research-based therapy that has a practitioner guide you into a focused state of awareness while in a deeply relaxed state. The goal is to help address the miscommunication between your brain and your gut that feeds the IBS symptoms. These sessions can take plane in the privacy of your own home or clinician’s office.
Here at The Tummy Clinic we collectively believe that an integrative approach is exactly what you need to manage your diet and stress and ultimately improve your IBS symptoms.
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