Do you immediately get symptoms after eating? Frustrating isn’t it?!
When you have IBS, having diarrhoea or stomach cramping after eating can be a regular occurrence.
In this article I am going to cover what causes this immediate reaction to food and what you can about it.
Table of Contents
IBS and Gut Motility
If you have IBS then it is unlikely you have normal gut motility (1). This means how your food moves through your gut may be too fast or too slow.
Normally, the digestive system uses a series of hormones, muscles and nerves to move food along just at the right time. When you have IBS, this system may not work as effectively.
This ‘defect’ can lead to both diarrhoea and constipation type symptoms.
Do FODMAPs Cause Immediate Reactions?
Have you ever had an IBS reaction straight after eating something and then found out it had FODMAPs in it? It happens to us all!
BUT – the reaction you just had was not FODMAP related. It actually takes FODMAPs at least 3 hours to cause reaction.
FODMAPs cause IBS symptoms when they react in your large bowel (the bit right at the end of your gut). So it takes time for FODMAPs to get there.
So there is no way of FODMAPs causing an immediate reaction.
What is The Gastric-Colic Reflex?
The gastrocolic reflex (AKA gastrocolic response) is a normal gut reflex. It controls how and when foods move through your gut.
This reflex is triggered when your stomach is stretched from eating a meal or snack. After eating your gastrocolic reflex works by increasing movement along both your small and large bowel to make room for the new food.
Although this is a normal reflex, problems with this can lead to digestive issues.
Why do I Run Straight To The Toilet After Eating?
If you have IBS then your gastrocolic reflex may not be working correctly. Just normal eating and drinking could cause an overreaction.
This means that you could find you suffer with symptoms immediately after eating.
How Can I Control the Gastrocolic Reflex?
If you find that you are reacting to foods immediately after eating them then there are some steps you can take.
- Check your portion sizes because the higher the calories = the more stimulation your gut will get (2).
- Focus your meals on high fibre foods such and vegetables and wholegrain which tend to be lower in calories.
- Avoid foods which are high in fat as these also stimulate that reflex morel
If you have IBS-C then you can gastro-colic reflex to your advantage. Trial adding more fat to your meals such as nuts, seeds and olive oil. Also ensure you are eating adequate calories.
FODMAPs do not cause an immediate reaction in IBS. Instead, this is likely to be your gastro-colic reflex working abnormally.
Changing your diet to influence your gastric-colic reflex can help manage your symptoms
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.