Many women experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on a regular basis and understand how frustrating it can be because of the variable symptoms. Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas and abdominal pain can occur separately or sometimes feel as if they are happening all at once.
While IBS can be triggered by such factors as stress, most have come to understand that the food they choose to put in their bodies also play a role and as a result, many are turning to the FODMAP diet.
Short for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP), this diet aims to eliminate carbohydrates that contain lactose, fructose, galactans, fructans and sugar alcohols.
As these foods commonly cause fermentation in the intestinal tract and fermentation commonly causes IBS symptoms, the removal of these foods can quickly resolve bowel and abdominal complaints.
The diet does remove several foods. This is done to clear out any intestinal issues before adding the foods back in one at a time in an elimination and re-introduction fashion.
Foods can include certain fruits such as all dried fruit, apples, apricots, plums and nectarines. Dairy products (all of them) are not allowed. The FODMAPS plan also eliminates all wheat and soy products.
Legumes such as lentils or chickpeas (think hummus), sweeteners such as sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol, and certain vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, peas, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are excluded on this diet.
FODMAP foods have a cumulative effect in the intestines which may explain why some days the IBS symptoms are better than others, or the symptoms seem to come and go.
Therefore these foods will be eliminated for a period of time. Four weeks is commonly recommended. They are then added in one at a time with a few days to a week in between so as they do not overlap and cause confusion if there are intestinal symptoms.
Someone may find that the sugar products cause intestinal discomfort but wheat does not. Perhaps wheat is a problem as are some fruits. Maybe it will be soy and lentils.