Hand up those of you who live with stomach problems. * waving * Did you know that about every sixth person in Sweden has problems with their stomach? There are approximately 1 485 091 people, of whom the majority of them are women between 20 and 65 years old. I am one of them ☹ I’ve had problems with my stomach since early teens (around 14) and I have received several different diagnoses such as stomach ulcers, gastric ulcer, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, that my stomach is unable to digest meat and finally IBS (twice). And with all these diagnoses, I’ve (probably) tested all types of diets that are available. At first, my IBS hasn’t been superdificult, I’ve been able to live with it and I’ve just not eaten things I know upsets my stomach, like candy, onions, garlic and big meals. But this fall it became completely unbearable. For those who are sensitive, I’m not gonna go into detail, but I can tell you that Dimor became my best friend. Stubborn as I am, I thought, “Oh, that’s fine. It will pass, it’ll calms down.” But when I was still wasn’t getting any better in January, there was no other way out but to book a doctor’s appointment and checking this out. There were a lot of visits and test submitted and the conclusion was that my IBS simply had gotten worse because of my burnout. I felt completely destroyed, the last time I was diagnosed with IBS, the doctors told me there was no cure and that the only solution was to avoid eating what I was getting sick of, and now I was getting sick from everything, absolutely everything I ate. The stomach even reacted to a banana. Honestly, a smal freaking banana. A week later, the answer came as a letter on the mail. Yes, it literally came in the mail. My mommy had found an article in a newspaper, interviewing a woman who’s IBS had gotten better thanks to something called FOODMAP. I read the article and I found tips on 2 different apps, one of which was partly free – Belly Balance, that she used. Absolutely wonderful. In the app, there are lists of different foods that shows if it’s okay to eat, if you should be careful with it or completely abstain. I went to Belly Balance’s website and read a little more, saw that they had recipies, books and tings the like, and last week I joined a membership – what do I have to lose?
So what is FOODMAP then? Well, it’s a diet that helps about 75% of those with IBS. It comes from Australia and stands for Fermentable, Oligo Di- and Monosaccharides and Sugar Alcohols (Eng Polyols). These are fermentable carbohydrates, and in common with those with IBS, they are poorly absorbed and affect the fluid balance of the intestine, causing classic IBS symptoms. You treat it in 3 different steps after you have kept a gastrointestinal diary.
Step 1 – begins with an elimination phase for at least two and preferably four to six weeks depending on how the symptom source changes. It is important to give the initial treatment time as it may take weeks, and sometimes months, for the stomach to settle.
Step 2 – Reintroduction of limited foods in a special order and in certain quantities.
Stage 3 in treatment is the most important reintroduction of “non-authorized” foods. The re-introduction is to see which foods are better tolerated to avoid unnecessary food elimination. After reintroduction, you know exactly which foods you manage better and worse.
At the moment, I haven’t gotten that far, but I’ve already noticed a small improvement. All very simple things, like not sitting in front of the computer, the tv, the cell phone or iPad when I eat. I’m just focusing on eating in peace and chewing the food properly, it takes about 15-20 minutes and then I just sit for another 5. Then I’ve kept a food and symptom diary for a week and tomorrow I will start with step 1 – the elimination phase. I’ll keep you updated 🙂