Gut Health - Part 5

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), characterised by numerous symptoms including gas, bloating and altered bowel habits, is the most common condition seen by gastroenterologists, and is associated with high medical costs. It is estimated to affect around 8% of Australians and is more prevalent in women than men.

Symptoms of IBS often wax and wane and severity can vary greatly between individuals. Patients are classified by predominant symptom type: constipation predominant, diarrhoea predominant, mixed bowel habits or unclassified.

Combining treatment approaches, such as including both pharmacotherapy and dietary change, may optimise symptom response. The low FODMAP diet (fermentable olgio-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols) has been shown to improve symptoms, by restricting fermentable carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are either slowly absorbed in the small intestine or not digested and therefore absorbed, at all. They attract water into the intestines and undergo fermentation by gut bacteria. These actions cause bloating, and in patients with IBS, induce symptoms due to inherent issues with gut hypersensitivity.

The low FODMAP diet assesses the effect fermentable carbohydrates have on individual symptoms. It is not a long-term diet plan and is therefore necessary to undertake alongside a professional dietitian. If you would like more information on irritable bowel syndrome or the low FODMAP diet, speak to our dietitian Gina.

Bradford Clinic