When I Found Out I Had IBS, I Was Happy

IBS Diagnosis

The day I was given an IBS diagnosis, I was very happy. First of all I wasn’t too sure what that was exactly, but what I knew was that, it wasn’t a serious disease or cancer, second I was thrilled that finally I had a diagnosis, for how I had been feeling for so the past few years.

Promptly I started to investigate what IBS was and immediately recognised most of the symptoms I had been suffering.

What is IBS?

IBS is the acronym of Irritable Bowel Syndrome; it is quite a common disorder and like me, a lot of people suffer of IBS for many years, without even knowing it.
IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder which gives these types of symptoms:

• Abdominal discomfort or pain
• Tummy bloating
• Excessive wind
• Alternating of constipation and diarrhoea

The low FODMAP Diet

My GP referred me to a dietician and she suggested starting a low FODMAP diet. I had never heard of that before, but fortunately here in Australia it was well known, due to the research of scientists at the Monash University in Melbourne.

That was August 2013 and I have been on a 80 – 85% low FODMAP diet ever since. Firstly I eased into the diet, just eliminating the most obvious culpable food, such as wheat, onion, garlic and within a few weeks I was ready to let go of the majority of the ‘bad food’. For six weeks I was able to follow it quite strictly and within a couple of weeks from changing my diet, I noticed that the majority of my symptoms were gone and finally in almost two years I started to feel better.
No more runs to the toilets, no more 9 months pregnant type belly, for a start.
At the beginning it was hard to know what I was able to eat and what not, especially because some healthy vegetables and fruits are high in FODMAPs, but they seem so innocent, how can they be so bad for me.

So my education started, I spent lots of time reading about IBS and low FODMAP diet. I read Sue Shepherd’s books and downloaded the Low FODMAP iPhone app, which I consulted religiously every time I would eat out at a restaurant. I also had to educate family and friends. At every dinner invite I had to specify what I could eat, as it was easier than telling them what I couldn’t eat (the list is way too long).
I started to cook less high FODMAP food at home, for my family. I figured as they weren’t bothered if I’d use onion and garlic in the food or not, I might as well eliminate it. I did miss it, though.

I have been feeling much healthier on a low FODMAP diet and although I no longer need to be as restrictive as I was at the beginning, I am still mainly eating low FODMAP food. So don’t worry if at the beginning it may seem very restrictive, there is still a lot of food that can be eaten, and the good news is that eventually you will be able to reintroduce some of the high FODMAP food back into your diet.

If you would like two weeks of low FODMAP meal-plans (normal and vegetarian version) feel free to subscribe to my blog.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and until next time, take good care.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information contained on this site is my experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet. I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, a registered dietitian and neither a health expert. This is purely my experience and it is not my intention to give you advice. When it comes to your health and fitness, consult your doctor and do your research.

About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

14 comments on “When I Found Out I Had IBS, I Was Happy

  1. Instead of living a miserable life, it is better to know about the disease you’re suffering from, even though it is cancer! I mean, then and only then you would come to a point to cure it. I’ve been reading few articles on this site and finding them extremely useful, for now I feel that I need to check up for IBS as some of the symptoms mentioned by you are happening with me. And I am taking it in a gratitude manner Larah.

    • Thank you for your kind comment Gordon. I am very thankful that my illness was ‘only’ IBS, after worrying about heart disease and cancer, I can cope with some diet and lifestyle changes. I wish you all the best and hope that you find out everything about your symptoms. Take good care.

  2. I had no idea what FODMAP foods were until I read about it in the series of blogposts on this website. From research found on this blog, it’s crazy how constricted those with IBS are food wise. I couldn’t imagine not eating sugary foods, or lots of carbs being that my diet literally revolves around it. I hope you are doing better, and I think you are after discovering FODMAP foods. It can only get easier as more doctors take interest and food manufacturers look into healthy alternatives. Right now FODMAP is unknown to the common person, but maybe years from now it could be much simpler.

    • Thanks for your comment Gene.
      Yes I know, if you asked me one year ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue about low FODMAP, it took me a month just to remember the name, when people asked me what type of diet I was following. I guess more and more people who are affected by IBS are coming in contact with this diet, as it can make a big difference in their health. I know it did for me.

  3. Yes! Please share recipes and meal ideas!

    Also I’m glad you found peace in knowing what was wrong. The most stressful thing of all is uncertainty. And stress doesn’t help with IBS either!

    • Sure I am working on a weekly low FODMAP meal plan, plus a low FODMAP Christmas Menu and a low FODMAP party menu. Thank you for stopping by Shivettes.

  4. It is usually a relief to realize that the set of challenges you’ve been facing has a name, and treatment! It must take some courage to share your story, Larah!

    • Thank you Heidilynn, I hope that my personal experience with IBS, can help others to identify their symptoms and seek for professional advice.

  5. I understand where you are coming from when you say you were actually happy to find out that you have IBS. Like you say, luckily it wasn’t something more serious like cancer, and you finally got a proper diagnosis. Without that, you had no way of knowing how to treat it. Doctors are too quick to prescribe medications without investigating where the problem stems from.

    Glad to hear that you’re feeling better. Giving up certain foods must be extremely difficult, but you stuck with it in order to make yourself healthier. I give you a lot of credit for it.

    Keep it up and stay strong!

    • Yes Veronica, much better IBS than other diseases or illnesses I thought I had. Changing to a low FODMAP diet has been challenging at times, especially when eating out. I am much better now and I use the Monash University LOW FODMAP diet iPhone app to guide me in my choices of food.

  6. Hello Annie Marie, I am working on some low FODMAP recipes at the moment and that will include some gluten-free recipes too, even though it’s not really the gluten the problem for most IBS sufferers, but the wheat and some other grains like rye, kamut, barley etc.as those grains also have gluten in them, by getting gluten free bread, pasta, buiscuit etc. then you’ll know that they won’t have those grains inside, but they may be high in FODMAP which is not good if you suffer of IBS.

  7. Yes! Having an IBS diagnosis can actually be a relief. I’m interested to hear more about your low FODMAP food diet. Also, if you have any gluten-free dinner recipes to share, I’d really love to try something new!

  8. Hello and thanks for taking time to read my post. It is true, at some point I thought I had heart problems (due to the magnesium deficiency!?) and then I went through scans to rule out ovarian cancer (scary thought for a couple of weeks). It is incredible how food intolerance can change our lives. I have thought about making a low FODMAP diet real food cookbook, I just need to find the time. Thanks for suggesting it too.

  9. I am glad that you did not have anything fatal, either. And it looks like you were relieved, too. I have heard of IBS before. I think the first time that I heard about this was when I watched the movie White Chicks (by the Wayans brothers).
    I believe that there was a scene in the movie when actor Marlon Wayans had IBS. Next, the good thing about your dietary change is that you have family and friends who care.
    Not only that, these same people fix the appropriate food so that you can enjoy yourself just like everyone else.
    Have you ever thought about coming out with your own cookbook? Just a thought.

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