How a mother and daughter changed their diet to manage irritable bowel syndromeby Donna Chisholm
A mother and daughter with irritable bowel syndrome say that diet was the missing ingredient in controlling the condition.
Grainger, an Auckland freelance photographer, was 18 when she was diagnosed; her mother was diagnosed at 22. Both had previously had glandular fever, but there’s little evidence it’s a triggering infection for gut dysfunction.
After having no symptoms growing up, Grainger says she began to suffer severe cramping and bloating. “It just feels like I’ve been punched and winded. It will be like that for a couple of days, and I can’t do anything until it has passed.”
Her condition improved dramatically after she cut out dairy foods in 2016, and it has improved further since she began to restrict her gluten intake. Collins, after consulting a nutritionist last year, has also removed dairy and gone on to a Fodmaps diet, which excludes fermentable carbohydrates, with similar results. She says she can now go for weeks without symptoms.
Both Collins and Grainger say their conditions are exacerbated by stress. Collins says when she was diagnosed, her GP told her the affliction was a result of stress and anxiety, but didn’t mention the possible contribution of diet. She changed her diet only after advice from a new GP.
Collins (48), an administration manager in Hamilton, says although her health is now fairly stable, “you always know it’s there”. The condition does flare up in response to stress, but she says the new diet has made a big difference. “I had never really looked at food in the past because I’d been told it was stress-related. I was hesitant to use Dr Google for self-diagnosis. I trusted my GP would point me in the right direction.”
The new diet is difficult to stick to – she’s had to cut out a number of fruits, as well as onion and garlic, which she loves – and she’ll sometimes put up with the symptoms to make eating out more enjoyable. “It’s a balancing act. Sometimes I just say ‘blow it’ and eat the things I want, knowing that, in a couple of days, I’ll have an uncomfortable tummy and be bloated and gassy. I know it’s not going to kill me, so why stress?”
This article was first published in the March 30, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.
Mike White talks to investigator Tim McKinnel, who says police often turn a blind eye to possible corruption out of a misplaced sense of loyalty.Read more
PM Jacinda Ardern has doubled down on her criticism of Australia's deportation policy as "corrosive", ahead of her meeting with Scott Morrison.Read more
Te Aniwa Hurihanganui looks at the outdated Adoption Act and its impact on Māori who grew up desperate to reconnect.Read more
Women with complications caused by deeply embedded vaginal mesh are being helped by a pioneering surgical technique.Read more
North Auckland farmer Fergus Riley has uncovered many important lessons in caring for his father Peter, who has Alzheimer’s.Read more
Instagram is running a social media experiment to see what happens when it hides the number of likes on photos and other posts.Read more
Duncan Smith and Annabel Tapley-Smith weren’t satisfied with producing meat of uncommon quality. So they bought a butchery.Read more
A study on biodegradable plastic bags found they were still intact after three years spent either at sea or buried underground.Read more