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Dietitian
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a dietitian who has had IBS for nearly 20 years. I read these posts on here and I so get what you are going through. I want to hug all of you! I think these support groups are so awesome because having IBS can be such an isolating experience. It helps so much to feel we aren't alone. For many years, I went on blaming myself, walking away from doctor's appointments feeling like "I am an alien, I am alone". "There is nothing wrong with me". "This is in my head." "I am creating my own symptoms" just like many of you have felt. And just like many of you, I have had every test done under the sun and was told in the end it was "just IBS." Though I am grateful that I don't have something more serious like Celiac or Crohn's disease, I sometimes felt that at least if I had one of those problems, maybe people would be more understanding or sympathetic to my issues! It has been very disheartening to find that there's not a lot of empathy for people with IBS, and that many people, including healthcare providers, don't understand how debilitating this condition can be! It's not just a nuisance, it affects every area of our lives.

So I got married (my second marriage) early this year and we went to Mexico for our honeymoon. Note Mexico is a bad place to go if you 1) have IBS and 2) are a vegetarian! Halfway through the trip, I thought I was going to die from massive stomach pain and nausea. I spent days in bed (and not in the way you are supposed to be spending days in bed on your honeymoon)! I felt guilty that my husband had to be my caretaker on this trip cause it wasn't fair to him and I felt angry at my body for not just being "normal." My husband was so kind and supportive though, and sought out a grocery store where he found me some corn flakes, rice cakes and rice milk, which I lived on for most of the rest of the trip. I thought For Sure I had an ulcer or something seriously wrong with me and was scared thinking about having to go to a foreign hospital. Towards the end of the trip, things settled down enough where we were able to enjoy one last day in Mexico and I felt well enough to travel home. This trip was the straw that broke the camel's back though. I decided I was Done with IBS controlling my life!

Though I am a dietitian, I struggled in the past with giving myself advice that I might give to patients. But I was so ready for change at this point and felt totally supported by my husband, that I decided it was time to try everything I had not yet tried. I also had further medical testing done once I got home to rule out serious conditions. But, of course, they found nothing, except the old IBS flaring up.I have experimented with alternative therapies and some dietary changes over the years, but nothing helped me in any lasting way. So I decided I was going to try the low FODMAPs diet and also learn everything I could about IBS. I know many people have "kind of tried" the low FODMAPs diets, but I discovered that's not the way it works- you must be diligent about eliminating FODMAPs during the elimination period of the first 4-6 weeks. I had an amazing improvement in my symptoms, like I never have experienced before. I know the diet is not for everyone and is not the answer for everyone, but it is the first scientifically proven diet that has helped nearly 75% of people with IBS. And that is huge! I would highly recommend you seek out guidance of a dietitian trained in that field if you are going to try it. You really need the support. (Patsy Catso's website has a list of FODMAP knowledgeable RDs if you need it: http://www.ibsfree.net/)

I don't claim to be cured from IBS, because I'm not sure that's possible. But I have changed my relationship with food and with myself and feel more in control of my life. Besides diet, I have worked with my husband, a mindfulness and life coach, to challenge and change my beliefs and negative thoughts about myself, IBS and my other health conditions. We are both inspired to help other people who are struggling with IBS because we understand what it feels like not to be heard and to feel hopeless and bleak. We want to help fellow IBS sufferers to be empowered and take their lives back.

My message is this- please don't give up hope. Never stop searching for answers, even if they are outside of what you currently believe to be possible. Never stop seeking out multiple opinions from other doctors if you don't feel heard and feel there is something wrong besides IBS. Be kind to yourself. Know this is not your fault and this is not in your head. Life can be full and enriching and beautiful again.
 

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FODMAPS are a variety of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet including things like sugar alcohols, certain sugars and some starches.

the low FODMAP diet limits those (so restricts some grains, fruits, and veggies that are high in the various FODMAP compounds).

Our forums has a list of dieticians as well http://www.ibsgroup.org/forums/topic/155678-low-fodmap-diet-worldwide-dietitian-registry/and we have a brochure made by one of our members here http://www.ibsgroup.org/brochures/fodmap-intolerances.pdf that can get you started as well.

Quiet a few people on our diet forum are discussing this diet as well if you want to talk to other people using this approach.
 

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I too found a HUGE success strictly following the low FODMAP diet. I was most amazed to learn my favorite fruits and veggies were on the high list. Now I have a new set of favs from the low list and life is good :)
 

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Dietitian
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Glad to hear that JuneBloom! It's so exciting to me to hear how many people are being helped by it. I discovered that even though I was eating healthy, I was eating such high FODMAP foods, so it was making me feel terrible. What a difference the right diet can make!

Marie , hope you found the info you needed that Kathleen posted. Looks like some great info on here!
 
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