The low-FODMAP diet has become the “go-to” solution for IBS. That is understandable, because it is so effective at helping people get rid of their excess gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and bowel issues. Still, a FODMAP elimination diet isn’t right for everyone. Before starting a FODMAP elimination diet, or using one for your child, consider these questions with the input of a healthcare professional:
- Do you have IBS or another diagnosis with IBS-like symptoms? If not, you should not use a low-FODMAP diet. It won’t benefit you, and you will be limiting your diet for nothing.
- Have you tried ordinary good health habits yet? Don’t skip over the old-school IBS advice to eat more fiber, drink more water, get more exercise and eat regularly scheduled meals! These really work for some people. If not, a FODMAP-elimination diet might be the logical next step.
- Do you have enough control over what you eat? It might be difficult to undertake a big dietary experiment like a FODMAP-elimination diet if you have to eat what is served at your dining hall or residence, or if you eat nothing but takeout or restaurant meals.
- Do you have bigger problems that take precedence? If you have a critical medical condition, major mental illness, intellectual disabilities, an eating disorder (or are at risk for eating disorder), or have too many other dietary restrictions, you should only consider a FODMAP-elimination diet after a thorough assessment by a trained nutrition professional.
Are you still on a low-FODMAP diet even though it isn’t working? First, make sure you’ve been doing it right, using up-to-date tools from a credible source. If you have been following the diet carefully and correctly for at least 5 weeks without benefit, it’s time to stop. Perhaps it is time to find a medical hypnotherapist or to have another consult with your gastroenterologist for re-evaluation or to discuss other options.
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