FODMAP & IBS: The journey begins

Hello again.

Did I ever think I’d be talking about something like this on the internet? No. No I did not.

Yet here we are.

It feels so weird typing out this blog post, imposter syndrome is real and even now when I’ve been dealing with bloating, odd nauseous spells, lethargy, stomach pain etc. FOR. MONTHS. I don’t feel ‘legitimate’ enough to be talking about it.

To cut a long story short – for the reasons listed above my doctor has suggested that I am PROBABLY suffering with IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome – (I have blood tests and things booked to rule out anything else) and that I should have a look at the FODMAP diet to see if that improves my symptoms.

Now I want to just clarify before going forward that I am definitely suffering from a mild case of IBS. My stomach pains and nausea don’t occur all that frequently, my main issue is the bloating and that’s more annoying than anything else.

However, I’m still going ahead with this diet because quite frankly I am just sick of looking like I’ve swallowed a balloon after every meal.

So, FODMAP… What is it?

It’s an acronym and it stands for ‘Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols’. Very fancy.

Really though, from what I’ve gathered it’s a collection of sugars that are in certain foods and have been found to cause digestive issues in certain people.

Okay, so you can’t eat any of those sugars ever again?

No, not exactly.

The diet begins with an elimination phase where, yes, you cut out all foods that contain FODMAPs. You do this for 2-8 weeks (depending on how long it takes for your symptoms to go away) and then you enter a reintroduction phase.

During this phase you slowly reintroduce foods and monitor how your body reacts to them. If you eat something and your symptoms return then you know it’s something you should avoid, if you eat something and your symptoms don’t return then it’s fine to keep eating it.

Phase three is the maintenance phase, this is where you’ve figured out what you can and can’t eat and you basically go about your life.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the main culprit of my symptoms is going to be fructans which are found in wheat, soya, onion, garlic etc. I say this because in preparation for the diet I made the horrendous decision to try and use up all of the high FODMAP food that had just come in our weekly food shop.

This meant I all of a sudden started overloading my body with Super Noodles, Heinz Hoops (yes, I’m a child), egg custard tarts, onions, garlic, and so on. I will tell you right now, I felt AWFUL.

I basically spent an entire day in bed because I became so severely lethargic, my stomach felt constantly heavy and uncomfortable and it was just a terrible idea.

So yeah don’t be like me.

That’s a very brief summary of it all though. I’ll be talking about my progress here so if you’re going through something similar and are curious to know how I get on then definitely keep an eye out for more posts!

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