When I first meet a patient who has suffered for years with IBS, they are often anxious, sad, worried or even depressed. They don’t understand what is wrong with their body and are desperately searching for answers. There are countless patients who have sat in my office and told me that no one understands what is wrong with them, or what they endure day in and day out with abdominal pain, bloating, unpredictable diarrhea or constipation, Unfortunately many have been made to feel that it’s all in their head and there is nothing wrong. Worse than that, they’ve started to doubt and question themselves. It’s become a constant source of stress for them, knowing that something is wrong but not being believed. It’s terrible. While my job as a gastroenterologist is to treat their gut, I get to witness the changes that occur in their overall wellbeing once they learn how to manage their symptoms on a Low FODMAP diet.
When I initially introduce the Low FODMAP diet, I explain that they should begin during a two-week period that works for them. So if they are planning to travel or attend a few parties, they may want to wait. For that two-week period, they must strictly avoid foods with FODMAPS before they begin to slowly reintroduce items back into their diet. A low FODMAP diet should only be followed for a short time, they key is to identify the foods that trigger symptoms and avoid those triggers in the future. It’s about learning boundaries- what foods are tolerated, and at what amount.
When my patients return after a few weeks, it’s an amazing transformation. Most seem tremendously relaxed compared to the last time they were in my office There is often a smile on their face as they tell me they are amazed how much better they are feeling! They’ve put away the diarrhea medicine or the medicine they use for abdominal pain. Every time I see this, I too am amazed that a change in diet can have such an enormous impact on people’s lives..
Patients regularly report that they are no longer worried about participating in activities, and they can enjoy each day without anxiety about needing to use the bathroom at an inopportune time. They now go out in public and enjoy their family and friends without that constant fear of an attack. Their focus has shifted from being sick and managing their illness to living their life. It feels good to just be your TrueSelf!
Witnessing this transformation is so rewarding. I’ve always believed that my patients deserve the same convenience in foods as people who do not need a Low FODMAP diet. I’m thrilled my snack bars are filling that void.