Our grateful thanks to the charity CORE for their input into our on-air report which you can hear again via the radio player further down this page.
The scale of the problem from poor diet and eating habits shouldn’t be under estimated. One of the conditions that has seen a huge increase in sufferers, due in part to these factors, is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Research shows up to a third of us will encounter the symptoms of IBS at some point in our lives and at any given moment, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Network tell us, it affects a staggering 15% of the population.
So what is IBS
It's the term used to describe a variety of gut symptoms. Symptoms vary from one individual to another and can be worse for some than others. It is a very common condition with around one in five people affected. Typical symptoms are:
It is not normal to pass blood in poo or lose weight unintentionally. So consult your doctor if this happens. It is important to have a diagnosis of IBS confirmed and other conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease ruled out. Talk to your GP about having a blood test to rule out coeliac disease prior to making any changes to your diet.
As symptoms usually occur after eating it is not surprising that food is often blamed. True food allergies are rare and are unlikely to cause IBS symptoms. However, they could be caused by food intolerance. There are many tests available commercially claiming that they can diagnose food intolerance e.g. IgG blood test, kinesiology, electrodermal (Vega) testing or hair analysis.
There is no convincing evidence to support any of these tests. The only reliable way to identify the problem foods is by eliminating and reintroducing foods. This should be done under the supervision of a dietitian, so if you feel your symptoms are due to food intolerance, ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian.
What steps can I take?
Make changes according to your symptoms
Listen to this weeks radio report
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