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IBS Awareness Month:
10 Tips to Fall In Love with Food Again

April is IBS Awareness Month and we want people with IBS to ‘Fall in Love with Food Again’.  

 

By Sasha Watkins

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a common digestive condition that may affect more than 1 in 10 people in the UK. IBS symptoms include stomach pain or stomach cramps, bloating, wind, diarrhoea and/or constipation.  

 

Unfortunately for those suffering from IBS, their relationship with food can be negatively impacted by the perception that food is the trigger for their symptoms. At Field Doctor we are on a mission to help people with IBS rediscover flavour, variety and balance in their diets. Our dietitian Sasha has ten tips for IBS sufferers to get back on track to enjoying food again. 

IBS Fall in Love with Food again

1. Don't suffer in silence

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people leave their symptoms for years and years as they are too embarrassed to talk about them or they are unaware that there is something they can do to improve their symptoms. 

2. Get a proper diagnosis

 

Don’t lose hours to Google or online intolerance tests! Please contact your GP to get a proper diagnosis of IBS and rule out any other conditions with similar symptoms (e.g. coeliac disease).  

3. Everyone is different

 

There is no one-size fits-all approach to dealing with IBS. There are several ways to deal with IBS, but the effectiveness will vary from person to person and their specific symptoms. Anticipate trial and error at first and changes along the way. 

4. Make one change at a time

 

Keep a record of which foods, events or activities trigger your symptoms and then monitor any changes you make. By only changing one thing you can better understand what has helped. 

5. Choose reliable sources of information

 

There is a lot of misinformation online so be picky about which advice you follow. Reliable sources of information include; NHS website, NHS health care practitioners, The IBS Network, the British Dietetic Association. 

6. Think about how you eat

 

Eat regular meals each day, trying not to skip any meals or eating late at night. Smaller meal sizes may ease symptoms and take time to eat your meals, chewing your food well. 

7. Think about possible dietary triggers

 

Common triggers for IBS symptoms include processed, fatty or fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, not drinking sufficient fluids or eating enough fibre. If you want further dietary guidance please ask your GP to refer you to a dietitian.  

8. Consider the low FODMAP diet

 

A special type of diet that avoids foods high in FODMAP’s (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) can also be effective but it should only be done under the supervision of an IBS dietitian to ensure it is done safely and properly.   

9. Think beyond diet

 

Stress and lifestyle factors play a big role in IBS. Take time to relax, try meditation, do regular exercise, get enough sleep or consider counselling.

10. Don't give up!

 

It is possible to live well with IBS. It may take some determination to get there. Be kind to yourself as it is incredibly hard having IBS and it may feel frustrating or even frightening at times. You don’t have to do it alone, there is support available! 

Help us raise awareness for IBS this month

 

Despite this condition being so common, its not often spoken about publicly. So this April, lets change that - the more voices the louder we can shout about it. Share a post on social media, talk openly about your IBS journey, encourage people you know with symptoms to get a proper diagnosis or medical support. 

 

We’ve teamed up with IBS Network, the national charity supporting people living with irritable bowel syndrome, this month. For every meal low FODMAP meal sold in April we’re also going to give 10p to The IBS Network to support their work.  

 

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Sasha Watkins Dietitian + Co-founder

Sasha is a registered dietitian and has spent more than 15 years interpreting nutritional science to help people feel happier and healthier through better food choices. Sasha was one of the first UK dietitians to be trained in the low FODMAP diet and has published research on IBS, food allergy and intolerance.

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