Patient Success Story: Adrienne Gibson, low FODMAP dietary treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


I have suffered with IBS like symptoms on and off since I was at university, but it was only after getting a mild vomiting bug about a year ago that my symptoms worsened. I was put on a course of anti-spasmodic tablets to try and alleviate the excessive bloating and nausea and they worked…. for a while! Within a few months my symptoms reappeared and this time they were much worse and beginning to have a serious impact on my quality of life.

I had nausea 24/7, excessive gas, fatigue, constipation and occasional vomiting but worst of all was the bloating. It was so extreme that by evening time, I easily looked seven months pregnant and couldn’t fit into clothes that I had worn when I was two stone heavier.

I tried to limit certain foods in my diet but it never seemed to make a real difference and I was becoming more and more frustrated. Finally when I went to see my GP one morning, unable to sit down from the iscomfort in my stomach, she referred me to a consultant gastroenterologist. All investigations came back negative and she referred me to Elaine McGowan to consider if my food intake was contributing significantly to my symptoms.

Elaine requested that I fill out a food diary for two weeks prior to my first visit and, on review, established that 80% of the food I was consuming was likely to be causing my symptoms. Elaine suggested that I go on a low FODMAP diet, a recently proven dietary therapy for IBS. Elaine clearly explained the foods that I should eat and those to avoid and after only a few days I felt a remarkable improvement in my symptoms. After four weeks of strictly following the diet, Elaine then guided me on how to reintroduce the trigger foods into my diet and educated me on how to establish my own level of tolerance for each food type.

Two months on and the difference is incredible. All of my symptoms have disappeared and I am much wiser as to the foods that can cause me discomfort.

On the down side, eating out is definitely a challenge and you do need to be better prepared to make sure you have the right foods in the cupboard but it’s a small sacrifice to make considering the tremendous
benefits I feel.

To learn more about the FODMAP diet and how this can help your IBS symptons, please see here.

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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.