IBS symptoms, the low FODMAP diet and the Monash app that can help

IBS symptoms, the low FODMAP diet and the Monash app that can help

August 5, 2019 49 By William Morgan


Medically diagnosed Irritable Bowel
Syndrome, known as IBS is difficult to
treat and overcome. In part, because we
still don’t understand its precise cause.
However, researchers at Monash University have been studying the dietary factors
in food that can trigger IBS symptoms.
This research has shown that the pain
discomfort and daily disruption caused
by IBS is triggered by certain types of
carbohydrates in food called FODMAPs.
Here we can see some examples of high
FODMAP foods. To understand how some foods contribute to IBS symptoms, we need
to look inside the intestines where food
is broken down and absorbed. Zooming into
the molecular surface of the intestinal
cells we see they are covered in
molecular machines that accelerate the
breakdown of carbohydrates.
Most carbohydrates, once broken down, can be absorbed through pumps on the surface
of your cells. However, some carbohydrates are not digested or absorbed by people.
The rapidly fermentable short-chain
carbohydrates that can’t be absorbed are
called FODMAPs. The presence of FODMAPs causes water to be dragged into the
small intestine. Also, because they aren’t
absorbed, FODMAPs travel through your
gut to the large intestine. When
bacteria in your large intestine get
access to FODMAPs, they use them
for energy to survive. The bacteria
rapidly ferment FODMAPs and produce
gas as a result. Excess gas production and
water retention causes the intestines to
expand.
When the intestinal wall stretches from
distension, the highly connected nerves
around the intestines send signals to
the brain.
People with IBS have very sensitive
intestines, so these signals contribute
to the pain they experience. To reduce
FODMAP intake and to alleviate the
distension, bloating and other symptoms
of IBS, Monash University have developed
the low FODMAP diet. People with medically diagnosed IBS should consult a dietitian
about trialling the diet. The Monash
University Low FODMAP Diet app has been
developed as a tool to help people with
IBS manage their diet and alleviate
symptoms. Contact Monash University or
visit the website to find out more about
the low FODMAP diet.