From Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), food intolerances, FODMAPs, abnormal bowel habits, to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and diverticular disease. Whether your test results reveal a diagnosable gut condition or they’ve come back negative – we know how frustrating gut conditions can be… and how confusing it is to figure out what will help you feel better.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Food intolerances:
There are so many wonder cures for gut issues on the internet these days – but they all tell you to do different things! Confused? Despite what the internet tells you, there is no one magic cure for IBS or food intolerances. But there are lots of things you can do that may help.
IBS and food intolerances are often not simple issues with one-size-fits-all answers. Symptoms vary and there can be many different triggers, as well as lots of different diet and lifestyle strategies that can help.
Our dietitians believe that there are many different food & lifestyle factors that can trigger gut symptoms, our job is to work with you to help identify which strategies are right for you. Sometimes this involves trialing a number of things to find what actually works for you.
The first step our dietititians like to take is to get you feeling better. We are experienced in a range of elimination diets that can help including the RPAH Elimination Diet and Monash Low FODMAPs Diet (fructose, lactose etc.) as well as lactose-free, wheat-free, gluten-free or dairy-free diets. If excluding certain foods make you feel better, we will guide you through a systematic food challenge process to find your food triggers. The aim is to broaden your diet as much and soon as possible again. We also look beyond food at how our stress affects gut symptoms, as well as the balance of bacteria in the gut.
The second step is to look at why your symptoms may have started in the first place. It’s important that you have already ruled out the medical conditions (including Coeliac Disease). For some people, it may have been caused from a food sensitivity or for others it may be due to a disturbance in gut bacteria (also known as dysbiosis) and certain types of probiotics (depending on your symptoms) may help. For other people it could be genetic reasons, and your dietitian can discuss with you potential ways of managing this.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
While Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two distinctly separate diseases, they do have a common factor – they involve some form of inflammation in the gut. Your Gastroenterologist has likely talked to you about various medications designed to reduce gut inflammation, but what you eat can play a role in the management of the disease or your symptoms as well.
The most important thing we will consider when looking at diet is to make sure you are getting in adequate nutrition. We’ll guide you how to include anti-inflammatory foods, and how to limit foods that may cause inflammation. We will also discuss certain nutrients important for gut repair.
Your appetite may be affected by how you are feeling during flare ups, but we can make suggestions through these difficult times too. Depending on your condition, the area of your gut affected, and whether you have had any of your bowel removed, your IBD can impact your ability to absorb certain nutrients. You may also be losing nutrients if you have blood loss (anaemia – iron, folate B12), and with the extra fluid loss (electrolytes). We will be able to guide you on how to manage potential deficiencies, with food and supplements.
The balance of bacteria in our gut is very easily disrupted by infections, antibiotics, poor diet etc. There has been some research of using supplemental probiotics, in capsules or powder, which show some great results in IBD especially Colitis, for helping to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. But there are many different types of probiotics, and they have different jobs. Randomly grabbing an acidophilus supplement out of the fridge at the health food shop may be a waste of time. Our dietitians will be able to talk you through the different types of good bacteria, which ones will be best for you, and in what sort of dose.
Do you get bloating, windiness or diarrhea? Being guided on food triggers like FODMAPs (fructose, lactose etc.) and other common food irritants will be a helpful part of symptom management.
Other gut conditions: we love a challenge! If you have any other gut conditions you would like support managing, please get in touch to ask how we can help.
Consult packages that may be of interest:
Things you may find helpful:
mySymptoms Food & Symptom Tracker – record your food intake and your symptoms, then email a report straight from the app to your dietitian before your consult to help you make sense of what foods may be affecting your symptoms
Food and Symptoms Diary – if you prefer pen and paper, download this pdf Food & Symptoms Diary to print