Why do I feel bloated after eating? Why do I have abdominal pain, diarrhoea or general discomfort after a meal?
There are ways of alleviating symptoms at the very least or even achieving relief altogether by getting to the root-cause.
How can nutrition therapy help with root-cause in Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS?
If you feel bloated after eating, it doesn’t have to be that way! There are some very simple first steps to take. These include considering if you are intolerant to a specific food or food compounds. This could be established through an elimination diet or testing. Next step is supporting digestive health and investigating if there is an imbalance in gut flora causing IBS type symptoms. Your symptoms might be triggered by a parasitic infection, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or a yeast problem. Low gastric and enzymatic secretions are also possible causes. Other factors to consider would be lifestyle factors – anxiety for instance can play a major role in IBS.
How long IBS issues take to resolve depends on the underlying cause.
Whilst a GP will do tests to check that you don’t have Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, there are no tests specific to IBS. A diagnosis is usually reached through a process of elimination. Diet is the usual factor in IBS with stress possibly acting as a contributory factor.
What causes IBS?
Sometimes it is very easy to work out what causes IBS. Most of the time though it is not just one factor. As mentioned, for some IBS may be due to a food intolerance, such as gluten or dairy. It could be due to an inability to manage foods high in oxalates, salicilates or sweeteners. Or IBS symptoms could be triggered by specific food compounds known as high FODMAPs foods.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are all osmotic compounds found in foods. These compounds cause water to be drawn into the intestinal tract and are responsible for fermentation in the lower gut leading. This can lead to feelings of discomfort, bloating and gas. Research shows that a large percentage of those who suffer with IBS can feel considerably better on a low-FODMAPs diet. This diet can seem very restrictive at first and appear very complicated, but with a little professional help it need not be! Once symptoms have been considerably reduced, foods high in FODMAPs are gradually re-introduced. One category at a time is re-introduced, to ascertain what components of the high FODMAPs foods are the issue.
Should I be gluten-free?
Some feel that going gluten-free alleviates symptoms of IBS. It is important, however, to establish if your issue is gluten, wheat or high-FODMAPs foods. By cutting out gluten, you will be reducing the FODMAPs load by reducing fructans. This may alleviate symptoms but you won’t establish if it is gluten per se that is the issue or the FODMAPs. You may therefore be avoiding foods unnecessarily and making your diet more restrictive than it needs to be. It may also be that you react to wheat rather than gluten. Therefore, if this were the case, you could continue consuming barley, rye and oat without causing symptoms.
You may wish to read the post on Could gluten cause my symptoms?
By working with me, we can improve your digestive health and explore the underlying cause to resolve your discomfort and restore your gut to health.
You might be interested in our MindBody Retreat taking place in September 2021. Combining healthy eating and solution focused therapy for a mind and body reset. This is a 4-day, 5-nights retreat run by two highly skilled nutritional therapists and a psychotherapist. It will take place in the fabulous Black Mountains of Wales. For more info go to https://www.mindbodyretreats.co.uk
I had the pleasure of working with a young woman who came to me as she generally felt terrible after eating. She sometimes felt so tired she have to sleep, she regularly suffered from cramps and had sever blood sugar imbalance leading to feeling very distressed and grumpy when hungry. She also had difficulty sleeping.
Within a couple of sessions, having made the recommended dietary changes, which included the removal of all gluten containing foods, she felt so much better.
Whilst in the past she had tried to cut out gluten she hadn’t been aware of all the hidden gluten. This time round she was a lot more successful and this was reflected in massive symptom improvements. As we couldn’t test for Celiac Disease since she couldn’t face re-introducing gluten into her diet we carried out a genetic test, which interestingly revealed that she did not have the genes that could predispose her to CD. Unfortunately, there are no markers (yet!) that can confirm if an intolerance is due to non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
She says “Your help has completely changed my life for the better and if more people find you and get the help they need then that’s great!”.