FODMAP Diet: My doctor recommended me the low... - IBS Network

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FODMAP Diet

Sheisun
Sheisun
31 Replies

My doctor recommended me the low FODMAP diet after IBS treatment with mebeverine and lansoprazole only partially helped.

I'm not keen on changing my diet. I don't have the time to prepare meals 100% from scratch and I don't want to spend all my time making sure that all I buy is low FODMAP stuff, like lactose free and gluten free. I'll be spending most my time reading labels! This means eating out is off the table and as a student I often eat on campus.

Also, everything I eat is on the high FODMAP list. Cereal with milk is an every day breakfast with me, and I cannot imagine replacing it with anything else except maybe a cheese toastie, but cheese and bread are also off the table, so with this diet I pretty much wouldn't be able to eat breakfast. My lunches are also quite carby, either bread or a pasta salad or some sort of savoury pastry.

Even dinners would be hard as I often buy ready made sauces to make my dinners with, which often contain onions and other things I wouldn't be able to eat. There is no way I'm spending time when I should be studying making my own sauces from scratch.

Basically, I would starve on the low FODMAP diet.

I don't know why my doctor recommeded it to me though, since I could eat anything and everything with no issues before I got symptoms, and my symptoms only came when I became very stressed due to uni. So I would think its stress related rather than diet related.

Still, I'm still having symptoms despite medicine and I've run out of ideas of how to help myself. I'm being referred to a gastroenterologist but I'm gonna have to wait another month or more until I get an appointment. I'm stressed out pretty much 24/7 especially now that I don't know what'a wrong with me, nothing is helping, and I have to wait ages to get a possible answer.

If anyone has any advice as to how I can deal with this, please comment.

Thanks.

31 Replies
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FRreedman

I don't understand what you want. Your GP gave you an idea which may help, but you don't want to do it because it is inconvenient. Why are you bothering to see a gastroenterologist? If they suggest the low fodmap diet, what will you do? I know it's not easy, when you're at uni, just trying to do your studying and partying with your colleagues and friends, but it isn't any easier when you're at work, trying to earn a living and balancing friends with work colleagues. In fact there is no easy time to be diagnosed with IBS/IBD. You just have to take what you're dealt and get on with it, and take any and all help and advice offered, and do what you can. I am sorry this reply is on the negative side, but then so was your post. If you want more positive advice, you are more than welcome to pm me, and let me have the opportunity to turn your negativity into some form of positivity.

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Sheisun
Sheisun
in reply to FRreedman

I'm seeing a gastroenterologist because my GP doesn't know what it is. They're not sure its IBS, its their best guess. The only reason they're suggesting it is because there is nothing else they can do until I get a diagnosis from the gastroenterologist. My life is too hectic for an inconvenient diet.

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Laxmik
Laxmik
in reply to Sheisun

Well as you grow older you realise nothing is more important then your health. If you are not healthy you won’t be able to attend uni. I suggest start with small changes. See a nutritionist if possible. That will help. Eg instead of cereal and milk have Gulten free oats and plant based milk. That’s off the shelf. Don’t have to make that from scratch. They is an alternative to everything. IBS maybe anxiety related but food also plays a role. I would try anything to get healthy.

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Saraia

Hi There,

I'm on the FODMAP diet myself and was diagnosed with IBS years ago. It's a pain, I totally understand but you have got to meet your GP/ Health professional and most importantly your own body at least part way for now or you won't begin to get better. I've been through uni and had to leave for a year, and still suffered when I went back. As a result I didn't get the grade everyone expected of me (I'm referring to my lecturers here) due to being in too much pain to study and revise. Don't let the difficulties and inconvenience stop you as in the long run, the sooner you are fixed, the sooner you can do everything you want again. The FODMAP diet restrictions are for 6-8 weeks, then you start the reintroduction period, which will take about 2 months for you to try out all the foods you missed out. So is doing some home cooking and doing a diet for 4months really THAT impossible. June-Oct would be the most convenient time around your study as you will be on holiday. Alternatively you can start now and be sorted well in advance of this years exams. Random question... I wonder what you are studying? Ok, that was the general motivational info now for the nitty gritty.

Please note, I am NOT a doctor or dietitian. I am just trying to help how I can. I'm sure you know of some things you must avoid so don't start having them just because I suggest it. I hope you read this all, it'll be packed full of ideas...

First things first. What is the actual problem and how long has it been going on for? Are you happy to try herbal remedies, or alternative remedies. Are your pains worse at certain times of the day or with certain foods. Or can you not tell at the moment and it seems like everything you eat/ drink makes things worse?

Here's the possible solutions. Note these won't work for everyone and maybe some ideas are not going to be considered sustainable. But give it a go, they help me...

Problem: Diarrhea/ loose stools

Remedy: 1. Isapgol/ Ispagel/ psyllium husk - restores balance

and 1 banana (you can put the husk into a sliced banana so it doesn't stick to your mouth

2. Dioralyte (if things are extreme and going beserk and you can't eat anything) Note... you shouldn't be drinking this if you are able to eat and this is only for 1-2 weeks.

3. Drink plenty of water, ...your body is telling you it needs to flush itself out

4. Paracetamol for pain, herbal option - peppermint tea/ ginger tea (after meals) and chamomile tea when feeling the tension

5. Do not skip meals/ do not eat big meals, 3 regular meals (or 6 small - 3 of which are snacks) during the day.

N.B. Use tablets sparingly; they are not a solution, just a temporary fix. The more you use them the less effective they become.

Problem: Constipation/ hard stools

Remedy: 1. Isapgol/ Ispagel/ psyllium husk - restores balance

2 banana's

2. Eat less bread and pasta, eat more fibre foods and fruit, e.g. apple/ pear (including the peel - that's the fibre part) If you do the FODMAP diet (and therefore cannot have apple or pear, make sure to add mixed grains and seeds to your diet as fibre alternatives. Chia seeds and linseeds are good and are available at most stores (go to ASDA/ Morrisons if you can't find them), nuts (not cashews/ pistachios, but you can have almonds, walnuts, peanuts) and raspberries)

3 Drink plenty of water, (seriously, I mean water... not alcohol, not pop, pure water. If you struggle with pure water, drink dilution juice as a last resort). Carry a bottle of water with you at all times.

4. Paracetamol for pain, herbal option - peppermint tea/ ginger tea (after meals) and chamomile tea when feeling the tension

5. Do not skip meals/ do not eat big meals, 3 regular meals (or 6 small - 3 of which are snacks) during the day.

N.B. Use tablets sparingly; they are not a solution, just a temporary fix. The more you use them the less effective they become.

Problem: Wind/ bloating/ cramping/ indigestion/ acid reflux

Remedy: Exercise/ dancing, peppermint tea (its for the cramps)/ lansoprazole/ buscopan - use sparingly. Reduce your portion size (especially FODMAP items).

Go to the toilet regularly and do not delay. If you notice you haven't gone for a couple of days make sure you have been drinking plenty of water. You can also have the following: Mix fruit with sugar, yoghurt and a little water. It's like a dilute milkshake but will help your system. Just do NOT have this as an alternative to water, it won't work as an alternative.

Problem: Pain induced by eating certain known foods.

Remedy: Do not eat said foods/ or if you can't help yourself reduce portion sizes for said foods and have an alternative stomach filler near by to ensure you have a decent meal. And avoid having said foods more than twice a week. E.g. Both potatoes and rice are allowed on the FODMAP diet and so are all meats. So when you go out, have more of these items and less of the bread/ cheese etc.

The FODMAP diet helpful advice.

1. You can get the FODMAP app - it allows you to scan/ look for low-FODMAP foods and it tells you the ingredients in the items too.

2. Get gluten free bread. find one you like, and live on that for all your bread needs (I eat a tonne of the stuff cause I pretty much live on bread myself).There is also GF pitta bread. The gluten free aisle has expanded but just be careful, just cause it's gluten free doesn't make it milk free!)

3. There are recipes on youtube for FODMAP/ vegan food. (It's amazing/ ironic that its the vegan stuff we can have on this diet, and yet the diet itself allows you to have any meat you like, lol!).

4. To tie you over until your appointment:

Campus food - have vege's, fries and meat. Alt. to sandwich/ pasty = brown bread sandwich/ pasty (this will be easier on your tummy even if it doesn't completely solve the issue(s). Jacket potato with salad (and keep some dairy free cheese in your bag).

5. You said you can't cook 100% from scratch. These meal ideas might help, they aren't completely from scratch, but nor are they pre-made. Please note that this lot is low-FODMAP friendly to the best of my knowledge.

5a. Breakfast options:

Buy 2 min oats and oat milk. It won't taste bad as you have matched the meal with the milk.

Gluten Free (GF) toast and jam/ GF cheesy toast (dairy free cheese alternatives do exist)

GF Toast and egg (boiled/ fried/ pouched/ omelette - add green part of spring onions, chives, chilli powder, salt, spinach, paprika, tomato).

GF pancakes

Jordan's Country Crisp + alternative milk, e.g. oat/ almond

Corn flakes/ Frosties/ Rice Krispies + alternative milk.

5b. Lunch/ Dinner options:

Mixed salad and grilled/ fried: chicken/ fish/ beef/ lamb (flavoured with some of the spices as written below) and potatoes/ mash/ chips and rice (white/ brown/ risotto rice). Rice only takes 10mins to cook. - For flavours - go to ASDA/ Sainsbury's/ Morrisons/ ALDI/ LIDL/ indian/ Pakistani shops and grab herbs and seasonings; paprika/ oregano/ parsley/ mint/ cinnamon/ salt/ pepper/ cumin/ curcumin/ basil and ras el hanout is a good one. Chilli sauce is a must in your cupboard.

5c. Desserts:

You can get dairy free/ GF cakes from the main stores/ Jelly/ Dairy free custard and fruit - strawberries and blueberries are allowed. Dairy free coconut yoghurt

6. Italian Sauce: grab passata and mix in basil/ oregano/ parsley/ salt/ chilli sauce/ flakes, let simmer for 5min in a frying pan - quick 5min pasta sauce

add meat till tender/ add cooked GF pasta, sprinkle dairy free cheese - Voila!

A different mix of spices will give you totally different flavours

Moroccan sauce - add the ras el hanout, simmer for 5 min.

Chilli sauce from the chippy + ketchup

Yoghurt sauce - sweet: Soya yoghurt, sugar/ honey (honey is not allowed on the FODMAP diet), fruit; e.g. strawberry, blueberry, banana, pineapple jam/ marmalade.

Dairy free yoghurt,

Yoghurt sauce - savoury: salt, pepper, mint, coriander, chilli powder, cucumber, cabbage, dairy free coconut yoghurt. (omit what you don't like).

7. stress - Get organised and forget about/ avoid annoying people. Complete all work as soon as you can and do not leave it to the last minute. Ask for help whenever you need it. Make a list of everything you need to do and aim to complete 1 item per day. Prioritise work over play.

Ok, that's it, I'm outta ideas. Good luck and I hope your health improves fast.

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BKY0214
BKY0214
in reply to Saraia

Wow! You are so helpful!

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Saraia
Saraia
in reply to BKY0214

Thanks. One other thing I thought of was to eat as many low-FODMAP foods as you can safely incorporate into your diet. The more low-FODMAP that is in you, the less high-FODMAP you will have room in your stomach to eat. It will automatically reduce your high-FODMAP intake without you even starting to restrict yourself. This start means you shouldn't become deficient in any essential nutrients because you have reduced some foods, not yet eliminated them. Plus... you might impress your dietitian already :D

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Donna_hugs
Donna_hugs
in reply to Saraia

So many ideas here thank you! Glad to see I am not over estimating the complexity

Just spent the weekend looking over a fodmap fact sheet, realise I will need a specialised cookbook too! A lot to learn to make this work

Hope it ends up being worth it

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Saraia
Saraia
in reply to Donna_hugs

Not everything requires a personalised cook book. E.g. Jacket potatoe with salad and mint chutney, boiled egg and waffles or grilled meat with herbs and rice.

All are meals that people have on and off this diet.

Good luck! I hope it helps.

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asbayford

Its temporary, it's only strict for about 4 or 6 weeks to get a base line. When you introduce foods back you jot down which are safe and which are bad leaving you with a personalised diet. Mine has changed my life. Health needs to come first before anything x

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David_Atlarge

Hello Sheisun

I'm sorry but I am going to join the people who commented 'don't understand what you want'.

In my experience of IBS and SIBO for the past 6 years there is not a magic pill. In fact medication generally only suppresses symptoms, if at all.

One wise sage once said "you are what you eat". I would go one step forward and say you are what you absorb!

Any specialist who understands IBS is likely going to recommend a low FODMAP diet because it works. I spent 5 of the 6 years with my problems moving from 'pillar to post' trying to find a cure. Some so called experts do not even recognise IBS (my GP recommended a Shrink for my SIBO because it is just not on the NHS' radar!!). Those who do often prescribe drugs and have no clue about diet.

You have to accept that diet effects your condition...if you fasted for a long period of time you might in deed be symptom free.

Low FODMAP is relatively easy. If you are a meat eater it's easier than if you are a vegan. It starts with a restriction schedule, followed by individual testing and reintroduction, then on to a modified diet to reflect those foods for which you are intolerant. As you condition improves you will find the 'inflammatory' list test shorter.

I had a course of specialised antibiotics followed by about 3 months of FODMAP restriction and then reintroduction. I am free of my IBS and SIBO now and only seem to react to Sulphites (a preservative) and very high histamine foods.

I followed both the Monash University and Kings college programs at the recommendation of my dietician. Their web addresses are below and they both have good smart phone apps, though there is a small, one-off, fee for both programs.

Give it a try...you might even enjoy it, especially if your symptoms start to subside. And dairy 'milk' alternatives are really nice! You just need to be more creative.

Good luck

monashfodmap.com

kcl.ac.uk/lsm/schools/life-...

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Earthflower

Hey, I've just been advised by a Dr to go liw fodmap and it's only been a week following the diet and the improvements in bloating and pain far outweigh any inconvenience.

Instead of looking at the whole list and being overwhelmed by it all, just take a handful of foods that you can work with for now and go for those. For instance my first few days i bought cottage cheese, eggs, coconut milk, rice crispies, rice cakes, lactose free butter, olives, tomatoes, grapes.

When my bloating and pain eased I WANTED to keep this diet up.

It could help you!

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Earthflower

By the way I realised yoghurt was bloating me out badly. Apples also. These two things are a big NO on the Low fodmap diet.

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Sonata2
Sonata2
in reply to Earthflower

If you turn out NOT to have a problem with milk products - you CAN eat yoghurt. It’s one of the things I easily digest. Also kefir - fermented milk - has improved my symptoms a lot. It is a probiotic that actually works for me. We should not ignore the importance of good intestinal flora / the microbiome. It’s a myth that fermented foods are always bad for IBS. We are all different and each person needs to trial things to find out what helps and what is counterproductive. I often have kefir - it’s really helped a lot.

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Booth29

If you do follow the fodmap diet, you really need to do it under supervision of a dietician. They will help and advise you of what you can and cannot eat, it’s very difficult to work this out yourself. It is restrictive but if it helps it’s worth it. I’m onto the reintroduction stage, but like you suffering from a lot of stress, so it’s taking a while. Lots of symptoms so having to wait. I’m not sure it’s helping me, but I would still recommend trying, it does help lots of people

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Edith0

Hi, I get that your possibly angry, frustrated and overwhelmed as its another thing to manage in an already stressful life. Can I suggest you go back to the GP and ask to be referred to a dietician for support and advise whilst on the diet. This diet was an absolute lifesaver for me and allowed me to eat after a period of being terrified of any food as it all seemed to worsen my symptoms and I lost 3 stone rather rapidly. At the time I was a social work manager in a busy service with early mornings and late nights and little time to myself and initially felt overwhelmed by it all. But I took time with the dietician to really understand the diet (it’s not as simple as giving you a diet sheet and saying here you go get on with it) and took the time to read labels and prepare food because if I didn’t I would still be ill and unable to work. Free from is so much better these days and no need for alternatives in some cases like lactose free milk and yogurts etc. Check out Tesco and Arla for their lactose and dairy free options, use the Monash app (which I have never paid for) when shopping or out for a meal. My GP also prescribed mebeverine and depending on which brand the pharmacy gave me depended on whether it worked. On one occasion I had to go to the urgent care clinic and the doctor there recommended buscopan over mebeverine, I have to say I find buscopan much more effective.

I wish you heaps of luck in your studies but do give yourself a bit of space and time to sort this so that you can finish them successfully. All the very best.

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Sonata2
Sonata2
in reply to Edith0

Yes buscopan works much better than Mabeverine. Also I take peppermint oil capsules and they are helpful. Available on prescription in the UK.

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Breathless76

Oh I can certainly see where your coming from. I was told to try the fodmap diet,and I’m no student,I also have time. But wow it just becomes soo overwhelming,and there never seemed to be an alternative for what I liked. I’ve bought gluten free bread,but it tastes like cardboard.

I can give you one solution for your cereal,try KO KO milk,it’s delicious,only problem is it’s no good in tea and coffee,but lovely on cereals.

When it comes to IBS,now there’s where the problem starts,because the S stands for syndrome,which can mean anything,and whereas some people can eat cheese or dairy someone else can’t,so nothing is a definite. It’s just sooo difficult to deal with,and I believe it’s someth you have to work out yourself. I’ve had 20yrs of this and still not figured it out. And that’s after every test,consultant from one end of the country to the other.

But one thing I can tell you STRESS does not help at all,so work on some way of releasing your stress,that you will find will be of a big help,NOW while your young. Best of luck to you🍀🍀🍀

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Saraia
Saraia
in reply to Breathless76

Get the warburtons gf bread. ...it's the only one that doesn't tast like card board imho. and have almond tea in your tea/ coffee or get the nestle powdered milk granules. (if your still on the diet you may have to get these from abroad; the vegan nestle powdered milk I got was from America. I know its not the same, ...but after 3 years of lactose intolerance, I got used to it and found alpro to be the best brand for me. Please don't empty the aisle though, ...I need it too! lol!

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Breathless76
Breathless76
in reply to Saraia

Hi and thanks for the reply. I’m not gluten intolerant,but I am wheat intolerant,which seems to be in everything.

When I first began this journey,a nutritionist advised me to try KoKo milk and I love it. I personally don’t drink very much tea or coffee. But I do drink,ginger&Lemon tea,and Chamomile. But my main drink is water with a freshly juiced lemon cube in it,and I just top it up with water all day. That I must admit has helped me enormously with my other health issues as well. You mentioned tinned tomatoes I thought they as well as any other canned food,was out of the question. Maybe I’m wrong. I do think it may help people if the term IBS could be more accurate with each individual. My GP told me there was no such thing as IBS,it’s a term used when they can’t get to the bottom of what’s wrong. I do agree with him. Because I’ve had well over 15-20yrs of this. I’m not like a lot of folk that just has bouts of pain,I have pain all of my waking hours. I probably am intolerant to some foods,but for me I think there’s more to it.

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Saraia
Saraia
in reply to Breathless76

Hi. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia cause I'm in pain 24/7. I have IBS too

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Sonata2

tomatoes raw r cooked are one of the few fruit/ vegetables I CAN eat! Fibre is a problem for me, (but not the only problem), including some supposedly low fodmap fibre.

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Breathless76

I can eat grilled tomatoes without a problem,but that’s the only way.

As I say we’re all different,so one size don’t fit all.🤷🏻‍♀️

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Sonata2

Yes, everyone is different! It’s a matter of finding what you can and can’t eat. My IBS was mild when I was younger, and high fibre actually *helped* me. Now it set off my IBS. A few years ago, I could eat bananas and avocados. Now I can’t.

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sweetsusie

Welchol, Colestipol (which is what I take), and/or Questran and drugs that all stop diarrhea in it's tracks. I take 4 tablets a day (2 in the morning and 2 in the evening), and I now no longer have chronic diarrhea and have my life back.

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Philbs1980

It's only inconvenient if you make it. Just do it for 4 weeks and see how you feel. Just make 4 simple meals on repeat. Make enough for two and then have one in the evening and then one the following day for lunch. For example spag bol with gluten free pasta and a can of chopped tomatoes and carrots. Salmon with potatoes and green beans. Chicken with roast peppers and potatoes and then another chicken dish with rice. It's actually very easy and you can download an app for free on your phone. Sure it is not much fun bit it's only for a short time. You might start to feel amazing.

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Emsky

Has your gp tested you for any intolerances? As mines done this and everything was ruled out, having autism made the fodmap hard for me as my diet is already very restricted, although I already didn't eat a lot of the stuff in the OK list, and sometimes I can eat something and be fine and other times I can't, hope they find out what's causing your issues

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Sheisun
Sheisun
in reply to Emsky

They've tested me for Coeliac's and it came back negative. Might ask for lactose test though.

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Emsky
Emsky
in reply to Sheisun

Yeah that's the best thing to do

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Stuart24

Hello, yes I agree with FReedman, it is your choice to treat yourself, but if you ignore this advice you may find yourself in a situation where your symptoms get increasingly worse. When you are on this road it is better to start making progress to resolve it. You can make simple changes that will help you. Buy gluten free pasta, and all lactose free milk, cheese and yoghurts. These are basically all the same as the gluten and normal dairy.

The other things you should do is not eat between main meals, you should have meals which are big enough to get you from one meal to the next, not doing this messes up the timing of your digestive processes meaning that you have poor digestion and the associated symptoms.

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Sheisun
Sheisun
in reply to Stuart24

I can't have big meals, I get full very quickly so I have to eat small portions often.

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sarao2009

I wouldn’t go the whole hog on a low FODMAP diet as you are right you would starve! But you’d also deprive yourself of essential nutrients. The best thing I find is to maybe try cutting out one thing at a time I.e wheat - but eat alternative carbohydrates or lactose- have an alternative. Also cutting out everything you won’t know what the trigger is. Perhaps it is not the diet but the stress as you say. In which case I have found learning mindfulness techniques very useful as my IBS is definitely stress related! There are many books regarding this & also free online information. Best of luck x

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