Are gas and bloating controlling your life?

Most people have suffered an occasional bout of bloating, gas, constipation, even diarrhea. But for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), these uncomfortable – and often painful – symptoms persist, interfering with everyday life.

According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, 18 per cent of Canadians have irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder that affects more women than men. Doctors refer to IBS as a functional disorder, since there’s no sign of abnormality when a person’s large intestine, or colon, is examined.

Foods don’t cause IBS, but many can trigger, or worsen, symptoms. Knowing which foods to eat – and which ones to avoid – is powerful information when it comes to getting relief from IBS.

Trying to find the right diet on your own, though, isn’t easy. Figuring out which foods trigger digestive distress is a highly individual, and often time-consuming, process. It’s not always clear which foods are bothering you.

Enter the Low FODMAP diet, a diagnostic approach that’s been shown to resolve symptoms in 75 per cent of IBS sufferers.

How does a low FODMAP diet work?

FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols, types of carbohydrates or “fermentable sugars” that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. Once in the colon, they’re quickly fermented by resident bacteria, cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain and, in some people, diarrhea.

The low FODMAP diet involves eliminating high FODMAP foods for six to eight weeks. If FODMAPs trigger symptoms, noticeable improvement can occur in just a few days. After the elimination period, FODMAPs are methodically reintroduced and challenged, one at a time, in specific portions, to determine an individual’s tolerance.

Expert dietitian guidance every step of the way

The low FODMAP diet requires know-how. It’s important to replace restricted high FODMAP foods with low FODMAP foods that contain missing nutrients. A dietitian knowledgeable in low FODMAP meal planning – and the strategic reintroduction of high FODMAP foods – can help ensure you follow a nutritionally-balanced diet.

Medcan’s Low FODMAP Diet Program for IBS is designed to help you identify which FODMAPs are okay for you, which ones should be avoided, and which ones you can tolerate only in small amounts.

You’ll work closely with a Medcan registered dietitian who will provide you with the tools and coaching you need to be successful, including a low FODMAP meal and snack ideas, a list of high and low FODMAP foods, low FODMAP recipes and Food & Symptom trackers. And, you’ll be expertly guided through the reintroduction and testing phase.

To learn more about the program, or to book your initial assessment, contact Medcan Nutrition (nutrition@medcan.com ) or phone 416-862-1553.

Please note: If you are experiencing digestive distress, it’s important to consult your doctor to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

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