Your Diet and Digestive Health
For many of us, digestive issues are rare occurrences and we recover quite quickly, but there’s a large number of people for whom digestive problems are a serious and constant part of their life. If you’re one of them, it can take months or years of suffering to finally get the curage to see your doctor and get diagnosed. But once that initial embarrassment is over, you can start reclaiming your life through treatment. For some this means medication, for others, cutting out certain foods, and for other it can be a FODMAP diet. If you don’t know what a FODMAP diet is and you suffer from digestive issues, then it’s time to get caught up.
FODMAP is an acronym for several types of molecules that are found in food that are known to irritate those suffering from conditions such as IBS or Crohn’s disease. By minimising the amount of foods you eat with these molecules in, you lessen the irritation in your digestive tract and get fewer symptoms. It’s a big change at first, but over time the diet becomes a simple part of who you are, with the benefits appreciated every day and the effort to maintain becoming less and less. But what if the low FODMAP diet isn’t working out for you?
Give it time
The best advice if you’re worried is – be patient. I know, it’s almost an insult, right? However, If you’ve lived with IBS or another digestive issue for a while, you’ll know that any change in diet, even a day of being overly indulgent, can lead to a worsening of symptoms. That could be true for you starting with a low FODMAP diet even though you’re making a change to foods that are designed to minimise your symptoms.
There’s no real way to say how long it may take for it to “kick in” enough that you see a difference, and while there’s always hope the low FODMAP will lead to you becoming symptoms free, the best might be that you live with a manageable level of IBS instead of a life-affecting one. But if you’re not getting the benefits after several months, something else could be at play…
IBS and food intolerance? How did we get to be so lucky? Food intolerances are more common nowadays and for someone who is sensitive to FODMAPs, sensitivity to another food isn’t so farfetched. When you were diagnosed with IBS, it’s likely you were asked to keep a food and symptom diary and also to try cutting out some foods. Well, you’re probably going to have to do that again to help pinpoint your problem.
It might seem a pain, but make sure you keep a food diary and symptom diary as it might pick up on a pattern you’ve never noticed before. Then it’s worth either cutting that food out if the diary gives an obvious answer, or taking your diary to your doctor and getting an allergy test. It may feel like it’s a never-ending circle of trial and error just to feel like a normal person, but you will get better, it’ll just take a little time.
A different condition
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, the idea that you actually have a different condition seems silly – you had a doctor tell you to your face after all! But if the above steps haven’t had an impact and you’re still suffering, or even getting worse, it’s time to have a serious chat with your doctor. You can always ask for additional tests, and if you’ve followed all advice thus far, your request will usually be taken seriously.
This is a difficult position to be put in, especially if you find you have a much more serious condition than IBS, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or even bowel cancer. Whatever happens, don’t blame yourself for anything you did; you followed advice and trusted the professionals. Now it’s time to focus on correct treatment and recovery.
If you think you’ve been truly let down you can always make a complaint or even take legal action. For information on misdiagnosis and what you can do about it, take a look at the information provided by Your Legal Friend.