The FODMAP Diet is life changing helping many people manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and avoid worsening pelvic floor problems.
Managing diagnosed IBS with the FODMAP diet is important for holistically managing coexisting pelvic floor problems.
Learn the low FODMAP diet foods to choose and trigger foods to avoid bloating, gas pain and constipation with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway.
This IBS Fodmap diet video is suited to individuals with:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Pelvic floor problems (prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain and muscle spasm)
FODMAP Diet Video Timestamps
0:49 How the FODMAP diet works
2:30 FODMAP diet foods to chose and foods to eliminate
Prolapse Exercises e-Book
International best selling prolapse exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery.
Prolapse Exercises teaches you how to:
- Exercise safely after prolapse surgery
- Reduce your risk or repeat prolapse
- Avoid unsafe exercises
- Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
- Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
- Improve prolapse support
- Increase your strength and fitness
- Strengthen your core
- Lose weight
What are FODMAPS
Some foods that trigger IBS symptoms contain sugars that aren’t well absorbed in the bowel by some people. The sugars that aren’t well absorbed by some IBS sufferers are called FODMAPS and can affect individuals differently.
These sugars can cause the typical IBS symptoms of gas and bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhoea which can exacerbate pelvic floor problems.
Working out your food triggers and then how much of them you can eat safely involves undertaking the FODMAP elimination diet. The FODMAP diet takes time and some trial and error to determine individual trigger foods that cause IBS symptoms.
How to Start the FODMAP Diet
The FODMAP diet should be monitored by a qualified dietician because it is a restrictive diet.
- Eliminate all high FODMAP foods during the first 6 weeks of this diet
- Over the next 8-12 weeks reintroduce small quantities of high FODMAP foods.
- Reintroduce one new food at a time every three days. This process of gradually reintroducing FODMAPS helps you determine the specific foods that cause IBS symptoms.
FODMAP Food Dose
The amount of a specific food you consume can affect your IBS symptoms. Some people can tolerate small amounts of high FODMAP foods without experiencing symptoms. IBS symptoms such as bloating or constipation can be dose dependent upon the quantity of FODMAPs consumed.
The appropiate dose or intake of FODMAPS differs for everyone which is why there is no one ultimate low FODMAP list. Work with a dietician and get the Monash University FODMAP App which provides you with the recommended quantities of FODMAP foods to consume.
FODMAP Diet Foods
Some fruits contain high levels of a sugar called fructose. The fructose sugar in these fruits can cause bloating by increasing fluid and gas in the bowel. This increases downward pressure on the pelvic floor and can worsen pelvic floor symptoms such as bladder leakage, prolapse dragging and passing gas unexpectedly.
High FODMAP fruits include prunes, pears, watermelon, apples and all dried fruit. Prunes can be beneficial for overcoming constipation however they are dried plums, high in fructose and slow to digest. Eliminate prunes in the first stage of the diet.
Low FODMAP fruits included in the low FODMAP diet are strawberries, oranges, melon, grapes and kiwifruit (or chinese gooseberries). Kiwi fruit are high in fibre and can reduce the risk of constipation during the elimination diet.
Some vegetables in particular are major causes of IBS symptoms. Garlic and onions are two of the most common IBS triggers to avoid during the elimination phase of the FODMAP diet. Green peas, artichokes, mushrooms and leeks are all high FODMAP vegetables.
Low FODMAP vegetable alternatives to include in the elimination diet include plain salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber), aubergines, squash and potatoes.
Red peppers (capsicum) and green beans are low FODMAP vegetables that soften the stool and are usually appropriate to assist in managing constipation.
Alternatively if you suffer from diarrhoea, eating mashed white potato can help firm the stool to avoid straining.
Protein is not stored in the body and needs to be consumed daily for tissue repair.
High FODMAP protein sources include all legumes (e.g. lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas), silken tofu and cured meats. Hummus and falafels are made from chickpeas and garlic and are initially excluded from the low FODMAP diet.
Low FODMAP protein alternatives to include in the elimination diet include plain meat and fish, eggs and firm tofu. Avoid fatty meats with constipation which may slow digestion.
Some people have difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar in regular milk and milk products. Lactose can cause bloating and diarrhoea, worsening pelvic floor problems. Avoid milk and milk products for example ice cream and custard on the elimination diet. Soymilk is made from soybeans and is excluded in the elimination diet. Instead choose soymilk made from soybean extract (usually listed under ingredients).
Low FODMAP dairy items to include in the low FODMAP diet are lactose free products. Hard cheeses are included in the low FODMAP diet however these products can contribute to constipation. Low FODMAP soft cheeses include camembert, brie and feta. Almond milk is a low FODMAP dairy alternative that is included in the low FODMAP diet.
Bread and Cereal FODMAPS
Wheat is a major IBS trigger for many individuals. The FODMAP elimination diet removes all products made from wheat, barley and rye including cereals and biscuits made from these grains. Avoid wheat bran in the low FODMAP diet.
Low FODMAP alternatives include sourdough, spelt and gluten free bread. Plain white bread gluten free bread can cause constipation or alternatively firm the stool with diarrheoa.
Rice and rice products are suitable foods to include in the low FODMAP diet. Boiled white rice is a stool firming food which can help if you suffer from IBS diarrhoea. Avoid risotto which is often cooked in garlic and onion stock and therefore a high FODMAP food.
Nuts and Seeds FODMAPS
High FODMAP nuts to eliminate include cashews and pistachios. Low FODMAP nuts to include during the elimination diet are walnuts, peanuts and macadamia nuts.
Seeds are a good source of fibre for managing constipation on the low FODMAP diet. Appropriate low FODMAP seeds include chia, flax (linseed) and pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Sugars and Sweetener FODMAPS
High FODMAP sugars include high fructose corn syrup and honey. Low FODMAP sugars permitted on the elimination diet are white table sugar, dark chocolate, pure maple syrup and rice malt syrup.
Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol and mannitol can cause bloating and diarrhoea with excess consumption.