Patient Story: Clodagh O’Sullivan, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) dietary success


“Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of diets – wheat-free, gluten-free, highfibre, low-fi bre – and thought I had finally identified the triggers for my lingering IBS.

I thought I knew what caused the bloating, discomfort and pain, but I was wrong. In my wildest imagination, I never thought that a simple, healthy food like an apple could be a problem until Elaine told me about a dietary therapy
for IBS called the low FODMAP diet.

Researchers have pinpointed a number of molecules in food (called FODMAPs) which are poorly absorbed in people with IBS. The list of my trigger foods included some of my favourites – onions, garlic, apples, honey– and under Elaine’s supervision and guidance, I tried rationing some and eliminating others.

I kept a food diary and, within four weeks, all my symptoms had improved. And the improvement was lasting. Occasionally, I’ll let the diet slip or will feel a little off after eating out or indulging during a holiday, but it’s easy enough to get back on track.

I miss my apple a day – and the onions and garlic – but the low FODMAP regime has not been very difficult to follow. I have cut out pasta and most bread, but find that I get away with a little wheat at breakfast and, best of all for this sweet-toothed person, some chocolate and ice cream.

There is still plenty of choice at mealtimes: meat, fish, eggs, tofu, basmati rice and potatoes, plus a carefully chosen selection of fruit and veg. For me, coffee is an irritant too, but I still haven’t succeeded in kicking the early-morning
caffeine habit.In the meantime, though, I find the low FODMAP diet very helpful, and refreshingly easy to follow.”

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About Elaine

Elaine graduated from Trinity College with a B.Sc., (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She gained wide experience working as clinical nutritionist in several hospitals prior to establishing her first private dietetic clinic in 1992.

Private Practice Experience
Elaine has gained vast experience specialising in providing private individual dietetic consultations for her clients in her clinics for the past 17 years. In recent years, her main areas of interest are weight management, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and nutrition and gastro-enterology.

Elaine is an active member of the INDI and was chairperson of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic weight management interest group from 2005 to 2007.

Dietetic and Nutrition Consultancy
Elaine has provided dietetic consultancy to a wide range of industries including private hospitals, hotels and catering companies. She has designed, piloted, implemented and coordinated workplace wellbeing programmes for several prominent companies and large international corporations.