Lifestyle | Health & Wellness

Why I Finally Decided to Try the Low FODMAP Diet

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When Will YOU Finally Decide to Try the Low FODMAP Diet?

There are many guides that explain how to start the low FODMAP diet and they usually begin with the recommendation for being screened by a gastroenterologist, to rule out celiac disease (and a few other diseases and medical conditions that can present similarly to IBS), and then to find a qualified and FODMAP trained registered dietitian.

Why Start The Low FODMAP Diet? Out of Order Sign written on belly

All of that is sound medical advice, that we support as well, but what comes before that? What gets you to the point where you actually make the calls and appointments?

That’s what this article is about – the psychological, mental and emotional parts that lay deep inside the suffering IBSer. What brings people to the point where they finally decided to try the low FODMAP diet?

Begin at the Beginning

It is a sad state of affairs when we realize that it sometimes takes hitting rock bottom to make the mental shift that gets us to make an appointment with a doctor. This is certainly not isolated to the person with GI distress. I know I have consciously made decisions to avoid the doctor because of: cost, inconvenience, and a biggie – fear.

Or sometimes people refuse to seek out a doctor’s help because they don’t believe there is any hope for their condition and that they have to live with their symptoms and just bear it.

There IS Help

We are here to tell you that you just might be one of the 75% with IBS who experience complete symptomatic relief with the low FODMAP diet. It is never too late to try it!

We reached out to several of our dietitian friends who are on the front lines of taking care of those new to the low FODMAP diet. We asked them to share their patient’s stories in the hope that some of these explanations resonate.

They aren’t always pretty. In fact, many times the diet felt like a last-ditch effort for the sufferer, but if you haven’t given the diet a try yet, maybe you will read something here that will encourage you to do so. Maybe you will recognize yourself in these stories.

And when you are ready, FODMAP Everyday® is here to help.

The Stories

Here are the stories that explain what it took for these IBS sufferers to finally try the low FODMAP diet:

A patient came to see me for preconception nutrition counseling, and it turned out she was struggling with IBS as well. After discussing her gynecological and gastrointestinal issues, we decided to start her on the low FODMAP diet so she could improve her digestive health and feel her best before pregnancy. – Rachelle Mallik MA, RD, LDN

It used to be that clients were learning about the low FODMAPs diet on their own. Now, more and more, I’m hearing from clients whose doctors have recommended it – YAY! A recent client had constant GI distress and was (after some testing to rule out other issues) diagnosed with IBS. Her doctor said “try low FODMAPs,” tossed her a page printed from the Internet, and sent her on her way. I was so glad she took it upon herself to find me so we could work through it for her together! – Rachel Meltzer Warren RDN

Just this morning, a woman called after reading about the low FODMAP diet online and realizing that she needed to tackle her IBS more systematically. She said that she had experimented with cutting out various foods one at a time (she cited gluten- and lactose-containing items) and had felt better for a few days, but then her symptoms returned. – Erica Ilton RDN CDN

I had one client come to me because she had to wear pads in her underwear whenever she left the house as she had accidents so frequently. She was embarrassed and so tired of not having a life due to her IBS, so she figured she had nothing to lose when she decided to try the low FODMAP diet. That one always stands out in my mind because her symptoms were so severe and then it was so life changing when she did do the diet! – Kate Watson RD

Robert K. came to me in desperation after his digestive problems and anxiety had forced him to leave his job. He said he was ready to try anything to improve his IBS so he could get his life back. He was excited to learn about the low FODMAP diet and started it immediately! – Jody Garlick RDN LDN

And two stories from Joanna Baker RN, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist:

Mrs. B has had a sensitive tummy for years, but in the last 6 months it has gotten worse to the point that it is now interfering with her quality of life. Her sister is on a low FODMAP diet, which has helped her immensely, so Mrs. B is wondering if it would help her too.

Mr. G got “Delhi Belly” while traveling in India. While he recovered from this, his tummy has never settled properly. His GPO suggested he try the FODMAP diet and referred him to a dietitian.

One thing that struck me as these stories came in was the use of exclamation marks by the dietitians – and yet, it didn’t surprise me. The diet can dramatically change the lives of IBS sufferers, and sometimes even within the first few days.

Below are some anecdotal stories that people have relayed to me. As you can see, the reasons for finally trying the diet are far-reaching and yet the common denominator is that the sufferer got to the point where they said Enough! Are you there yet?

  • One friend told me that when her children had grown and moved out of the house that she decided it was finally time to focus on her own health.
  • Another person ended up in the hospital with extreme GI distress that, after a battery of tests, did not sufficiently pinpoint the reasons for his pain and symptoms. Trying the low FODMAP diet was a last-chance commitment and ended up changing his life. He said he went from being afraid to eat, to loving food again!
  • And lastly, people read about the low FODMAP diet in popular magazines at the gym, salon or newsstand and they recognize themselves in the descriptions and they figure, why not? What do I have to lose?

Remember, it is ALWAYS recommended that you get a definitive diagnosis from a MD and recommendation to start the diet. Then, working with a RD is the best way to succeed on the diet.

Are you still suffering with IBS symptoms?

Have you been thinking about trying the low FODMAP diet?

What has been preventing you from trying the low FODMAP diet once diagnosed with IBS?

What did it finally take to decide to try the diet?

We’d love to hear from you below in our comments section.

For general information on the low FODMAP diet be sure to visit our section on FODMAPs. 

For detailed explanation and customized guidance you should work with a dietitian experienced in the low FODMAP diet. You can find a listing of RDNs for your locale on our Resource page.

And know that many RDs will do Skype and/or phone sessions, so don’t give up the search for a RD to work with.

If you are seeking additional written guidance you may want to consider purchasing The Low FODMAP Diet: Step by Step where you will find expert diet guidance from Kate Scarlata, RDN as well as over 130 low FODMAP recipes by Dédé Wilson.

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