Functional gastrointestinal disorders affect over 25 million Americans, but as many as 80% of those suffering from the disorder do not seek proper treatment. Common reasons why there is a lack of diagnosis for FGIDs is due to being dismissed by health care providers due to the lack of positive test results and the lack of awareness about the symptoms each type of functional GI disorder.
Identifying the common signs and symptoms is the first step to managing the disorder properly. While each type of disorder comes with their own list of symptoms to look out for, there are common signs such as:
Motility problems like diarrhea or constipation
If you or someone in your family experiences at least three of these common symptoms regularly you might have some form of FGIDs.
The Role Of Food In Functional GI Disorders
Although it is best to get a diagnosis from a physician which will allow you to start with the treatment and management of the disorder, there are some natural remedies worth trying as well. The right diet can help alleviate some of the most painful and uncomfortable symptoms of the disorder. These are some natural remedies and dietary changes you can make to help you manage your pain and symptoms:
Keeping A Food Diary
The key to managing the disorder is individualization. This means there is no one diet that works for all patients. A great way to find your trigger foods is to keep a food diary. Taking note of what you eat and how your GI tract responds to the meal is a good way to find out which food and drinks you should avoid preventing triggering your GI tract problems.
The Low FODMAP Diet
A low FODMAP or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polysaccharides diet is often recommended to patients with functional GI disorders. These are a carbohydrate group commonly found in most types of food that cause GI distress. FODMAP rapidly ferments in the intestines which leads to excess gas, cannot be absorbed by the intestines, and draw out water from the intestines as well. Avoid foods that belong to this group will help improve your quality of life, even with the disorder.
There are some foods that come highly recommended by some dieticians, but not by all. One of the most controversial foods is fiber. While some doctors recommend about 30 grams of fiber a day with a lot of fluids, some argue that fiber is not good for the gut at all. Since humans cannot digest fiber properly, it can ferment in the colon and cause more GI problems instead of helping resolve the issue.
Another commonly debated food is the consumption of probiotics. Although probiotics can help treat constipation and it helps normalize bowel movements, it should never be used as the sole treatment for any disorder. Instead, it helps to identify any food triggers and allergies to avoid irritating the GI tract in the first place.
Certain groups of experts have made it their life mission to help people suffering from FGIDs through education and collaboration of all affected and involved sectors.