Archive for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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.

Eoin Ryan is a keen cyclist competing in events around Ireland (funds raised go to the South Kerry Mental Health Services). Eoin sought Elaine’s advice regarding a diet that would give him the energy he needed to complete his newest venture whilst preventing any gastric symptoms such as bloating, gurgling, feeling of lethargy.

Elaine decided the best dietary advice for Eoin would be for him to follow a high calorie high carbohydrate low FODMAP diet. Eoin took part in The Race Around Ireland in September and before the event we asked him to share some information about it

“The Race Around Ireland is a race in the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association world cup series. It starts in Trim, Co. Meath on the 9th September and was in effect a 2,172km time trial around Ireland finishing in Navan, Co. Meath. It offers a unique challenge to competitors who have to overcome fatigue, the elements and the rugged Irish landscape, all whilst racing against fellow competitors.

‘Well I made it to South Kerry, 1,384km roughly, absolutely amazed with the support from everyone out on the side of the road. Had a bit of a twinge in left ankle too which the doc looked at, that was the chilles! Not ruptured but ice and rest recommended. The doctor said it was against his advice to carry on, on two counts. So unfortunately I had to make the awful decision to retire from the race while in second place. A big thank you to the crew who got me this far around and to all who supported the five charities involved.’
Eoin
www.eoinryan.ie

Eoin reported that the high calorie, high carbohydrate, low FODMAP diet worked very well in sustaining his energy levels and he had no stomach or bowel difficulties during the 1,384kms that he cycled. He found the diet most beneficial.

To learn more about Sport’s Nutrition and how the Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinics can help you, please click here.

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Since my teens I have always suffered with my bowel and would frequently experience stomach pains, especially if I had just eaten a meal regardless of the portion size. I would never have been able to go out for a meal late in the evening. The symptoms also got bad when on holidays as my diet would be different and I would be eating out more.

In 2011 I was advised by my doctor that the symptoms I had linked to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I had
tried all types of diets, high fibre, low fibre and I had significantly reduced dairy products from my diet. I was taking medication to reduce the spasms in my stomach and using remedies for diarrhoea or constipation depending on the day.

I was recommended by my Doctor to attend Elaine McGowan. Elaine was very friendly and immediately put my mind at rest. Elaine explained the low FODMAP diet that I was going to use. She provided clear guidelines for the diet and advised that I would need to be strict on the diet for 4 weeks and then we would start to re- introduce foods.

Elaine provided a list of the foods that I could eat and where I could purchase these foods. Being a very fussy eater I didn’t think that I could obey the guidelines for 4 weeks. Week 1 was very hard adjusting to new foods and when doing my weekly shop reading the ingredients in foods.

Once I got started, I immediately noticed a difference in my health, no stomach pains and I had so much energy. I feel so much healthier. As an added bonus I am now able to eat out later than usual with no side effects.

As the weeks have gone by I have not looked back to my old lifestyle, I am so happy that I went to get dietary advice, definitely a lifestyle change. I would highly recommend a visit to Elaine.

“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.”

Patient Story: Ciara Millar,
Ir ritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) -
dietary success
“Growing up in my teens I suffered from problems with my
stomach and my bowel. I suffered from vomiting, burping
after eating and intense stomach cramps and bloating after
eating. The symptoms of these problems got extremely
worse in my mid 20’s when I started my career. Stress
aggravated the problems. My life became centred around
these problems because I found it hard to make plans to go
out on a night out, to go on fl ights and to go out for dinner.
In my mid-twenties my symptoms had become so severe
that I made an appointment via my G.P. to attend a
Gastroenterologist and I had a colonoscopy procedure to
check my bowel and a g astroscopy procedure to check my
stomach. I was diagnosed as having chronic irritable bowel
syndrome. I was also diagnosed as having refl ux. I am now
31 and since I fi rst had these procedures I have had them
twice since then. I always tried to manage my symptoms
by eating more healthy, not eating takeaways, cutting out
white bread, cutting out and down on certain alcohol and
exercising. I always tended to be worse when I went on
holidays and blamed it on the fl ights.
In the last few months I was almost afraid to eat because
everytime I did eat the symptoms of refl ux would return
and the cramps I was experiencing from my bowel became
intolerable. My symptoms were so severe this year that I
was vomiting a lot at night and in the morning, suffering
from stomach cramps every time I ate. I no longer
socialised because I was afraid of being sick when I went
out with friends. I missed days in work because of what
I was experiencing. My mood swings also changed and I

“Growing up in my teens I suffered from problems with my stomach and my bowel. I suffered from vomiting, burping after eating and intense stomach cramps and bloating after eating. The symptoms of these problems got extremely worse in my mid 20’s when I started my career. Stress aggravated the problems. My life became centred around these problems because I found it hard to make plans to go out on a night out, to go on flights and to go out for dinner.

In my mid-twenties my symptoms had become so severe that I made an appointment via my G.P. to attend a Gastroenterologist and I had a colonoscopy procedure to check my bowel and a g astroscopy procedure to check my stomach. I was diagnosed as having chronic irritable bowel syndrome. I was also diagnosed as having reflux. I am now 31 and since I first had these procedures I have had them twice since then. I always tried to manage my symptoms by eating more healthy, not eating takeaways, cutting out white bread, cutting out and down on certain alcohol and exercising. I always tended to be worse when I went on holidays and blamed it on the flights.

In the last few months I was almost afraid to eat because everytime I did eat the symptoms of reflux would return and the cramps I was experiencing from my bowel became intolerable. My symptoms were so severe this year that I was vomiting a lot at night and in the morning, suffering from stomach cramps every time I ate. I no longer socialised because I was afraid of being sick when I went out with friends. I missed days in work because of what I was experiencing. My mood swings also changed and I wasn’t the happy go lucky person I always had been.

I was advised by my gastroenterologist to attend Elaine McGowan. That day I met with Elaine, she was sympathetic to what I had been going through all these years and she said that she would help me. My family and friends had been telling me for months that I couldn’t continue to put up with the problems that I had been having for years.

Elaine introduced me to the low FODMAP diet and explained it to me in detail. This particular diet lists out certain foods that you can and can’t eat. Within two days of using this diet I noticed an enormous change. I have been on this diet now for over two months and I can honestly say that is has changed my life.

I can still eat a lot of the food groups that I have always loved. I just had to make certain changes. The symptoms of both reflux and chronic IBS have disappeared completely. I now realise that it is normal not to get cramps or feel nauseous every time I eat. I am happier in myself, the dark circles are gone from under my eyes, I am sleeping better and I have more energy than ever before because of the foods I am now eating on this diet.

Thank you Elaine so much for helping me have a normal life again.”

IBS-Patient-Story“I’d always been a big girl with little confidence, but this began to change the day I was referred to Elaine. At the age of
22 I was a sufferer of IBS and was weighing 17 stone at 5ft 4in tall. My Limerick based Gastroenterologist referred me to Elaine. She carried out investigations and diagnosed IBS. She advised that I required a dietary approach to treat my IBS and for weight management.

When I first met Elaine I barely spoke to her or even lifted my head, now when I go to see her she can’t shut me up. Before I met Elaine my social life was nonexistent and having to buy clothes was always an upsetting experience. I would never shop in Penneys, as the only thing in the shop that would fit me were the socks!

Elaine gave me a plan of what foods I should avoid with my IBS and what foods I could eat and what foods I couldn’t eat.
By following this and doing some exercise, I managed to clear my IBS symptoms and lost weight each month. As my waistline began to shrink the opposite was happening with my confidence. It’s been a long journey, but I couldn’t have done it without the help and support from Elaine, my family and friends.

It is two years later now and I currently weigh just under 10.5 stone and have lost 7 stone. I just want to let people know that you don’t have to have surgery or use diet pills to lose weight.

Personally, I have tried the diet pills and from my own experiences I would never recommend them and as for surgery why spend a fortune and put yourself through the pain, when following a specialized diet and doing some exercise can get you the same results.

People don’t recognize me anymore and it’s not just about my physical appearance, I have changed as a person, I have
become more confident and outgoing. I now actually have a social life and going shopping is no longer a chore, it’s
something I love to do!”

“Predictable is one way I would certainly not describe my life, or my diet. My job means that I could be in Dublin today, Galway tomorrow and Cork the next day. This is all very exciting and ever changing for me, but unfortunately my diet suffered as a result. I would go long periods without eating and then would crave convenient, usually sugary foods which provided an instant lift.

As with all things that give an instant lift, the result of any
boost may also mean a come down. This come down would
leave me feeling bloated, sluggish, lethargic, and
began to affect my mood. I
suffered with Irritable Bowel
Syndrome (IBS) which was
often exacerbated by the
unpredictable hours I ate.
Days could pass and
still there would be no
release from this feeling of
bloatedness and I would suffer
days on end of constipation.
My waistline was also feeling
the effects of this. I’m fi ve
foot and always had a small
frame but in later years the
clothes sizes just seemed to
be going up with the older I
got. My fi nal breaking point
was when I was going away
for a weekend and I spent
hours packing clothes trying
to mastermind ways to hide
my lumps and bumps. I went
away for the weekend and
normally I am the fi rst on
the dance fl oor, not needing
alcohol or encouragement,
but this time, I felt my
confi dence wouldn’t allow
me to get up off the chair. I
decided maybe I needed a
few new clothes to boost me
a little, so I went shopping,
but all I could fi nd were
clothes that reminded me of
something people climbing
Mount Everest might use
for accommodation!! When
I tried on a top and the
only top that would fi t was
a size 20, I knew action had
to be taken. AT 5 foot, I
was getting as wide as I was
tall, and my confi dence was
imploding.
I attended Elaine in
April 2010, and weighed
over 12 stone. I explained
to Elaine that my lifestyle
was not something that
would allow me to hours
on end over steamers or
blenders concocting magical
diet recipes from different
variations of green vegetables
and drinking something
which resembled product
from an underground sewer!
Thankfully, the diet was
practical and easily fi tted
into my daily routine. I
was given a plan fi rstly to
target my IBS, and within a
week, I was feeling results,
the constipation was easing,
and my energy levels were
getting a genuine boost,
without the comedown I’d
experienced previously from
sugary foods. This gave me
the motivation to continue
and that persistence was
rewarded when I returned
to Elaine after 3 weeks and
had lost 7 pounds. I was
ecstatic!! I followed my plan
and was able to introduce
light exercise, which involved
swimming. I would have never
described myself as a strong
swimmer, but I started out

“Predictable is one way I would certainly not describe my life, or my diet. My job means that I could be in Dublin today, Galway tomorrow and Cork the next day. This is all very exciting and ever changing for me, but unfortunately my diet suffered as a result. I would go long periods without eating and then would crave convenient, usually sugary foods which provided an instant lift.

weight-loss-story

As with all things that give an instant lift, the result of any boost may also mean a come down. This come down would leave me feeling bloated, sluggish, lethargic, and began to affect my mood. I suffered with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which was often exacerbated by the unpredictable hours I ate.

Days could pass and still there would be no release from this feeling of bloatedness and I would suffer days on end of constipation. My waistline was also feeling the effects of this. I’m five foot and always had a small frame but in later years the clothes sizes just seemed to be going up with the older I got. My final breaking point was when I was going away for a weekend and I spent hours packing clothes trying to mastermind ways to hide my lumps and bumps. I went away for the weekend and normally I am the first on the dance floor, not needing alcohol or encouragement, but this time, I felt my confidence wouldn’t allow me to get up off the chair. I decided maybe I needed a few new clothes to boost me a little, so I went shopping, but all I could find were clothes that reminded me of something people climbing Mount Everest might use for accommodation!! When I tried on a top and the only top that would fit was a size 20, I knew action had to be taken.

AT 5 foot, I was getting as wide as I was tall, and my confidence was imploding. I attended Elaine in April 2010, and weighed over 12 stone. I explained to Elaine that my lifestyle was not something that would allow me to hours on end over steamers or blenders concocting magical diet recipes from different variations of green vegetables and drinking something which resembled product from an underground sewer!

Thankfully, the diet was practical and easily fitted into my daily routine. I was given a plan firstly to target my IBS, and within a week, I was feeling results, the constipation was easing, and my energy levels were getting a genuine boost, without the comedown I’d experienced previously from sugary foods. This gave me the motivation to continue and that persistence was rewarded when I returned to Elaine after 3 weeks and had lost 7 pounds. I was ecstatic!!

I followed my plan and was able to introduce light exercise, which involved swimming. I would have never described myself as a strong swimmer, but I started out doing 4 lengths in the pool and progressed it every week. I can honestly say at no stage did I feel hungry…. infact the opposite, I was constantly full.

I now go to the swimming pool about 4 times a week, and despite my unpredictable schedule, I always seem to find time for it. My energy levels are unrecognisable to me, I’ve not had this much energy in a long time. My confidence as result of losing weight and feeling good has really been the driving motivation to continue the exercise and healthy eating. My IBS has improved dramatically and I rarely suffer with constipation now.

I am now down to 10 stone and am buying size 10 and 12 clothes. The compliments I’ve received since losing the weight have been real encouragement to me, but it’s the confidence, energy and zest of life again that has really been the motivation to keep going.

My lifestyle is still as hectic as ever, but this time my eating has adapted healthily into that whirlwind schedule! The only problem now is -Dragging me off that dancefl oor!”

patients-story-ibs“I first noticed symptoms in March of last year. I read up on them and they seemed to be typical of someone with IBS – bloating, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation (alternating bouts of both).

“The diarrhoea was awful as it occurred three to four times each day, while there were about two episodes of constipation each week. The bloating was constant, along with a lot of gas and unpleasant abdominal pain and spasms continuously after eating.
“The fatigue was a major part of it. Life had become very limited for both me and my six year old son, Sean, in the sense of going anywhere as the diarrhoea and pain had become so bad that, at various times in the day, I would often have to lie down and I would have no energy at all. I had stopped calling to friends’ houses as the symptoms had become so embarrassing.
“Depression definitely became part of the problem too as I just didn’t want to leave the house at all at times and I lost my motivation and my get-up-and-go. My son and I usually loved doing things together and he needs to have his life too, so it was getting on top of me. I also lost any interest in socialising because even just having a few bottles of beer would lead to vomiting plus having to spend the next day in bed with abdominal pain, gas and even more severe bouts of diarrhoea.
“I felt I couldn’t live my life in this way, and nor could Sean – it wasn’t fair. I felt that life was passing me by and became very withdrawn from my friends. It was unlike me, especially when I was usually known as the person full of life and energy.
“The solution finally came when I was referred by my consultant gastroenterologist to Elaine after I had my colonoscopy done to receive information on IBS and the diet I needed to follow. To be honest, I never believed in the usefulness of dietitians before this because I considered my diet to be sufficiently healthy already but I was prepared to at least listen to what she had to say.
“Elaine is fantastic at what she does – she has a very kind and sympathetic manner and is so thorough in her approach. She guided me along with very detailed advice on the best foods for my condition and also the worst foods – the ones to avoid. She also seemed to totally understand how I was feeling; Elaine explained exactly what IBS is and how to control it.
“Now my symptoms have disappeared – that is why I say Elaine is a miracle worker! The fatigue is non-existent and, after a year of being unwell, myself and my son are now enjoying life again. I am feeling great mentally also.
“I enjoy the diet and cooking has become so much more enjoyable as I make most things from scratch now, as opposed to out of a jar. I’m actually more experimental in that I’m trying more foods than I would have before and, if I’m going anywhere, I now bring a few snacks with me to prevent symptoms returning. Plenty of water on a daily basis was also recommended by Elaine and that seems to be working.
“I would recommend Elaine to anyone because she is very down to earth and understands how difficult your life becomes with this condition and reassures you that your life will return to normal again. And she was right – my life did return to normal. Now I thank Elaine for giving me my life back.”

“I first noticed symptoms in March of last year. I read up on them and they seemed to be typical of someone with IBS – bloating, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation (alternating bouts of both).

“The diarrhoea was awful as it occurred three to four times each day, while there were about two episodes of constipation each week. The bloating was constant, along with a lot of gas and unpleasant abdominal pain and spasms continuously after eating.

“The fatigue was a major part of it. Life had become very limited for both me and my six year old son, Sean, in the sense of going anywhere as the diarrhoea and pain had become so bad that, at various times in the day, I would often have to lie down and I would have no energy at all. I had stopped calling to friends’ houses as the symptoms had become so embarrassing.

“Depression definitely became part of the problem too as I just didn’t want to leave the house at all at times and I lost my motivation and my get-up-and-go. My son and I usually loved doing things together and he needs to have his life too, so it was getting on top of me. I also lost any interest in socialising because even just having a few bottles of beer would lead to vomiting plus having to spend the next day in bed with abdominal pain, gas and even more severe bouts of diarrhoea.

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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.