Note: Sorry to my email subscribers for being bombarded yesterday. I had an error my RSS feed and it caused a backup. Hopefully all the redesign quirks will be ironed out this week.
After weeks of waiting for my appointment I have finally seen a gastroenterologist, the same one who did my colonoscopy in 2009. He’s a trip. Super nice and exactly the kind of guy you want to tell all your poop problems too.
Yup, I said poop problems.
I mentioned here and there about my tummy troubles but I never really went into details because, well, it’s embarrassing and it makes me feel freakin’ old. I mean, in the past few months I’ve had a mammogram, ultrasound, attended physical therapy sessions for my neck and now I’m on a first name basis with a gastroenterologist. Before I know it I’ll have one of those weekly pill containers to store my prescriptions and an eye glass leash so I don’t lose my bifocals.
Anyway, I went to see him because things haven’t been… ummm how should I say this… solid? I honestly can’t remember the last time I left the bathroom feeling normal. After I talked to my GYN about it she urged me to see the gastroenterologist.
His conclusion? IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), more than likely diet based and nothing to worry about. He drew some blood to test for celiac disease and suggested I either take low doses of Imodium as needed or give the low FODMAP diet a try.
The Imodium suggestion didn’t interest me. It feels more like a band-aid solution to a problem I should probably figure out the source of. So I inquired more about FODMAP because I honestly never heard of it.
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, all of which are carbohydrates that can be poorly digested by some people. According to the documentation the doctor gave me it breaks down to:
- Sugar Alcohols
Lactose, I know, is a milk thing and I’ve actually reintroduced more milk into my diet recently so it’s my No. 1 suspect. I’ve always eaten milk products in the past without a problem but Doc said you can become lactose intolerant as you age. I had no idea!
Fructose is found in fruit, honey, high fructose corn syrup and agave. It’s only a problem in foods that don’t contain the same amount of glucose, which helps its absorption, like apples, pears and manages, all of which I do eat quite a bit.
Fructans is a totally new word to me. When I researched it a bit I found inulin to be the first thing listed and I know how my body reacts to that! Fiber One Bar anyone? Yikes! Fructans are apparently completely malabsorbed because we lack the enzyme to break them down. Fructans include things like wheat, garlic, and onion.
Galactans are similar to Fructans but found in beans and lentils.
Sugar Alcohols are naturally found in stone fruits but they are also added to a lot of diet foods in the forms of sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol and maltitol.
As much as I hate having a diet that makes certain foods off limits, it’s time I got to the bottom of my bathroom issues. Doc said it should only take a few weeks to figure out the culprit.
It feels super overwhelming to hop right in, especially with a fridge full of leftovers from the holidays. So I’m starting off by just eliminating lactose to see how my body responds. Then, if there’s no change I’m going to hop in full force.
The list of FODMAP foods to avoid is pretty intense.
Avoid: buttermilk, chocolate, creamy/cheesy sauces, custard, ice cream, milk (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s, condensed, evaporated), soft cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc), sour cream
Limit: cream cheese, half and half, hard cheeses (cheddar, colby, parmesan, swiss, etc), soft cheeses (brie, feta, mozzarella, etc), sherbet, yogurt (Greek), whipped cream
Avoid: cashews, beans, black-eyed peas, bulgur, lentils, miso, pistachios, soybeans, soy milk (made from soybeans)
Limit: almonds, hazelnuts
Avoid: wheat, barley, rye, farro, chicory root, inulin
Avoid: apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, canned fruit, dates, dried fruits, figs, guava, mango, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, persimmon, prunes, watermelon
Limit: avocado, cherries, grapefruit, pomegranate, coconut
Avoid: artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms, sugar snap peas
Limit: artichoke hearts, asparagus, beet, broccoli, brussels sprouts, butternut, pumpkin, cabbage, celery, green peas, okra, snow peas, corn, sweet potato
So many of my favorite foods are on that list. It sucks! I’m really hoping it’s a lactose thing, but I’m really curious how my blood work comes back about celiac. I doubt I have it but you never know.
Have you tried the low-FODMAP diet before? I’d love hear some experiences as, honestly, it seems impossible to follow. I look at the list and think, Geesh! What can I eat?