Undiagnosed IBS a Major Health Issue

by Dr Naras Lapsys

With our years of nutrition consultancy in Sydney, we’ve seen a lot of health situations, but imagine waiting as long as five years before getting help with a persistent and unpleasant medical condition. That’s what happens with an estimated 40 per cent of Australians who are suffering from some kind of food intolerance, according to a 2012 survey.

Amongst that group, more than 80 per cent had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The story of one sufferer illustrates the importance of a correct diagnosis and effective treatment. Victoria had been afflicted with diarrhoea for 15 years, forcing her to hunt down a toilet some five times a day. She had regular colonoscopies and continually worried that her condition was being caused by bowel cancer. When she tried a diet that eliminated bread and processed foods, her symptoms were alleviated and only then did she realise that her condition might be caused by food intolerance.

Flexible approach to treatment

At The Body Doctor these stories are always a source of concern because we know how well IBS generally responds to changes in diet. Further, studies show that a flexible approach to treatment and excellent communication between the healthcare provider and IBS sufferer is essential. Whether seeking IBS relief or weight loss, Sydney area residents need to establish relationships with healthcare professionals that meet these standards.

In her article on the treatment of constipation-predominant IBS for Family Practice News, Caroline Helwick reports that establishing a good relationship between the provider and patient is critical. As we saw in Victoria’s story above, patients are often confused and fearful. Not only is finding the correct treatment vital, so is good counselling.

New research

Fortunately, a variety of treatments work well with IBS sufferers and new research continues to reveal causes and various dietary, supplement and lifestyle options. We’ll briefly outline some recent news. When working with a dietitian Sydney area IBS sufferers can know that we always draw on the latest research.

Dr Gibson, professor of medicine at Monash University in Victoria, presented the results of his work on a low-FODMAP diet last year to the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. FODMAP is an acronym for certain kinds of sugars that are present in many foods. They can be rapidly absorbed, malabsorbed and/or fermented, which may trigger the common IBS symptoms of bloating and pain.

While Dr Gibson’s study was limited in size, his results were impressive enough that those of us involved professionally with IBS and weight loss in Sydney took immediate notice. Dr Gibson found that those who worked with a dietician on a low-FODMAP diet had an excellent rate of improvement: 86 per cent.

Nutrition and lifestyle

With a nutritional approach drawing on recent findings such as the low-FODMAP diet and other dietary strategies, The Body Doctor continues to develop effective treatments based on nutritional and lifestyle changes rather than relying on the global pharmaceutical corporations. Experience has shown that sometimes the “quick fix” pill can have unwanted side effects. Novartis for example agreed to pull its IBS drug Zelnorm out of the U.S. market after life-threatening side effects such as heart attack and stroke were found in studies.

For reasons like these and others, when looking for help with IBS treatment, athletic performance or weight loss, Sydney area residents know that The Body Doctor always takes a safe and effective nutritional and lifestyle approach.

 

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