Nutritionist shares ways to reduce irritable bowel syndrome through diet, lifestyle

Irritable bowel syndrome has symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea and gas. gettyimagesbank

Irritable bowel syndrome has symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea and gas. gettyimagesbank magine waking up one day to a relentless discomfort in your gut, a turmoil that disrupts your daily life severely without any warning. This invisible adversary, known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), haunts 10 percent to 15 percent of the global population with its unpredictable symptoms of stomach pain, diarrhea and gas.Even celebrities such as “Spider-Man” actress Kirsten Dunst and supermodel Tyra Banks, who is known for following strict diet and workout routines, have faced the challenges of IBS, which is known to have no cure, with many being told simply to “live with it.”Jessie Wong, a Hong Kong-born, Seattle-based dietitian, knows this all too well as both she and her husband suffered with IBS for more than a decade.Wong’s husband was studying for a doctoral degree in the United States when he experienced symptoms and saw a university doctor who told him: “It’s just IBS and you have to learn to live with it.”His case was not typical as he received an early diagnosis of the disease. One study showed that it takes on average more than six years from the onset of symptoms, seeing doctors and undergoing tests to reach a definitive diagnosis of IBS.Wong also started battling IBS when she was pregnant with her second child in 2016. She experienced constipation, cramps and lower abdominal bloating. “There was no guidance as to what to do,” she said.

This lack of guidance spurred Wong on a path from accounting to dietetics, driven by a desire to impact health and well-being positively. By the time Wong started experiencing discomfort from IBS, she had already transitioned into a career as a dietitian.“I studied business and finance in college, did my master’s in accounting and worked for one of the big four accounting firms. But it wasn’t a good fit,” she said.Motivated by her long-standing interest in healthcare and a commitment to fostering positive impact on well-being, Wong went back to school for another five years to study dietetics.During that time, a gastroenterologist recommended the couple follow a low-FODMAP diet.FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols,” short-chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest, and found in various vegetables, fruit, dairy milk and wheat.After passing through the small intestine, the poorly absorbed sugars from these foods enter the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria, releasing gas that distends the bowels, causing gas buildup, bloating and pain.Lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, fructose, a sugar found in many plant-based foods, and polyols, sugar alcohols found in certain fruit, vegetables and sugar-free sweeteners, cause water retention in the bowel, leading to loose stools and diarrhea.Wong later trained in the FODMAP diet at Monash University in Australia, where it was developed, and realized it was only a temporary solution to managing their symptoms.Determined to find a more comprehensive approach, the gut-health dietitian outlined a three-step strategy to combat IBS on her popular social media channels, including her website ibsfreedom.org and her Instagram account with nearly 47,000 followers.The first step she recommends is to identify your food triggers.“The goal is to eliminate and reintroduce FODMAP groups to see what level of tolerance you have for each group. Then you can 슬롯게이밍 personalize the diet afterwards,” she said.

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