This weekend – Saturday the 4th of November, I was lucky enough to be invited to The Allergy & Free From Show in Liverpool to do a talk.
With an estimated 13,000 people over the 2 days of the show, it was set to be a busy one!
I decided to do my talk on something, which you know that I am really passionate about. The talk was all about ‘How To Get An Accurate Allergy, Intolerance, Autoimmune or IBS diagnosis.
Thank you to all those who came to see my talk! It was an outstanding turn out which meant sadly some people actually had to stand at the back.
After the talk, I had individuals come and ask me some questions and so I thought I would share some of them with you.
Q1. ‘I have IBS, should I do the low FODMAP Diet?’
A. The low FODMAP diet is just 1 way to manage the symptoms of IBS and whilst it is really effective, it would be impossible to say without looking in detail at someone’s symptom pattern. In some cases, the low FODMAP diet can make symptoms worse. This is why it is so important to do the diet under the care of a trained dietitian. The diet may seem simple, but it isn’t. Just to put it into context, there are dietitians out there who have been working for 15+years who would not feel comfortable helping someone through the diet. You need to have that experience.
Q2. ‘I have Chrons disease but haven’t been referred to a dietitian’
A. Not everyone with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) needs to see a dietitian. Food does not cause inflammatory bowel disease, but there are ways to reduce flare ups by making changes to the diet. So if you have very mild symptoms and very few flare ups, it is highly unlikely that dietitian input is needed.
If, however, you have multiple flare ups then a dietitian can help. Or during a serious flare up where you may end up in hospital, you will see a dietitian due to your increased energy and protein needs. In some cases, where scaring in the bowel occurs, causing ‘strictures,’ you need to see a dietitian for a low fibre diet.
Q3. ‘Why won’t my GP do allergy testing?’
A. Only 1-2% of adults have food allergies and it is even more unusual to have an allergy as an adult, which you didn’t have as a child. If you suddenly start having digestive problems, it is more likely to be caused by something else such as inflammatory bowel disease, IBS or coeliac disease. Your GP will carry out some initial blood testing to rule out most of these conditions and if the tests are negative, you will be given an ‘IBS’ diagnosis.
There are some very rare cases where adults do have allergies, which were previously not apparent. In this case they are ‘non-IgE’ and so there is no test available for them anyway. Your dietitian will be able to guide you through what the best diet approach is in order to gain control of your symptoms.
Q4. ‘I have seen EVERYONE and no one seems to be able to help’
A. Firstly, ensure you have had your blood tests as described above. Following this, you need to see a specialist dietitian. Although all dietitians have a degree in dietetics, their post-graduate experience in extremely varied. It doesn’t necessarily depend on how old or how many years a dietitian has been qualified for either.
So please don’t give up, go and see one. Personally, I have been extremely lucky in my post-graduate experience in which I have worked with world leading consultants in a range of clinical settings to gain a high level of experience in gastroenterology. If you would like to have a chat to find out if and how I can help you, please contact me to book a free 15 minute call today.
Q5. ‘My GP will not refer me to a dietitian, what shall I do?’
A. Every GP surgery will have access to a dietitian referral system, so they can refer you. However, some surgeries will only refer those with more severe symptoms due to reduced funding. I would therefore go and speak to your GP again and tell them just how much your symptoms are affecting you. Failing this, you can always consider to go privately, which would also prevent you from having to wait. Again, please feel free to contact me to discuss my private services which can be provided anywhere in the world.
Again, a huge thank you to all that came and for some fantastic questions!!