Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a common disease of the large intestine or colon. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, gas, and change in the frequency and form of stool. About 7% of the US population is affected by IBS with more prevalence among women than men.
Treatment includes antidiarrheal and/or antispasmodic medications, stress management and diet. Food intolerances and/or food sensitivities are common triggers of IBS symptoms. Several elimination diets like low FODMAPs and LEAP have helped many IBS patients to recover from or improve symptoms for long term. However registered dietitians should supervise elimination diets to ensure adequacy of all nutrients in them.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols, which are short chain carbohydrates, and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed in small intestine and will pass through large intestine. FODMAPs are fermentable by gut bacteria and therefore cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain and cramping. They are also highly osmotic and attract water into the colon and cause constipation or diarrhea. Following a low FODMAPs diet is usually done for 6 to 8 weeks. Eliminated foods will then be added one a day in order to identify trigger and non-trigger foods.
Another effective elimination diet is LEAP which stands for Lifestyle Eating And Performance. LEAP is an ImmunoCalm elimination diet based on a blood test called MRT which stands for Mediated Release Test. MRT checks the immune response to 150 commonly eaten foods and chemicals. LEAP dietary program should also be supervised by Certified LEAP Therapists (CLT) who are also specially trained registered dietitians.
Elimination diets are effective treatments to improve and control IBS symptoms and can replace medications if followed strictly under expert supervision.