I am soon to be 30 years old and have experienced gastrointestinal complications since I was a young child. At first, it just consisted of constipation and I began taking fiber supplements, as recommended by my pediatrician, for several years without much resolve.
My teenage years only seemed to complicated my irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Once I started my menstrual cycle, I began experiencing worsening symptoms, such as bloating, cramping after eating, and diarrhea. My OB/GYN prescribed birth control, as well as mild anti-inflammatories to no avail. Of course now, after working in a primary care setting for many years, I understand why the anti-inflammatories were ineffective and possibly made my gastrointestinal matters worse!
Throughout the next several years, I learned to cope with the persistent diarrhea and constipation patterns without medication. It became an unfortunate norm that I simply shouldn’t have ignored. It wasn’t until I had my second child, at 22 years old, that my symptoms became nearly impossible to bear. Nearly everything I ingested upset my stomach, particularly red meat and leafy greens. I experienced numerous cases of diverticulitis, therefore I began seeing a gastroenterology specialist.
My gastroenterologist prescribed a medication to take as needed for my IBS-C, and strongly suggested that I begin the low-FODMAP diet to control my IBS-D and bloating symptoms. She explained that foods lower in FODMAPs are easily and more rapidly digested in the intestinal tract, which gives bacteria less time to grow. Makes sense, right? I consulted with a dietitian, who was able to explain FODMAP foods in further depth and designed a plan for me to follow. It has greatly changed the way I feel, and most importantly has controlled my irritable bowel syndrome. Lifestyle change for the win!