In case you missed the partnered webinar between Modify Health and Monash FODPMAP, we have summarised the key points for you. Prof. Peter Gibson, head of the Monash FODMAP team, and Gastroenterology departments at Monash University and Alfred Health gives us insight into managing IBS during this chaotic time. Note: before beginning a low FODMAP diet, always consult your doctor or dietitian. They will help to ensure other medical conditions such as coeliac disease have been ruled out before beginning the diet.
Practice social distancing
Reduce droplet spread when coughing and sneezing (cough/sneeze into elbow)
Follow guidance from WHO, CDC, and local authorities
Look at credible science: wash your hands for 20 seconds, try to reduce face touching and manage surfaces through alcohol disinfectants.
Don’t fall for magic thinking: there are no special foods or supplements that will help to protect you from COVID-19. There is no evidence that any nutrition related treatments that are available to change your chance of getting COVID.
Overall: aim for good self-care and avoid getting run down
In the population of people with COVID-19, 15% may get loosening of bowel actions. This is a very minor part of the illness and something which is not of great importance. However, one of the things we don’t know if IBS gets worse because of COVID-19. To date, this is not occurring, but, symptoms may get worse due to the extra stress during this time. There is no evidence or reason to suggest that IBS patients are more susceptible to getting COVID-19. On the contrary, there is no evidence to suggest that those with IBS, who are infected with COVID-19 will have worse outcomes.
While looking online to broaden your education on IBS and the low FODMAP diet may sound appealing, there are many unreliable sources online. There are many great Monash resources (Monash IBS central, Monash App, Monash booklets, Monash FODMAP online learning). These resources do not take place of a dietitian, a dietitian is very important for having successful outcomes. A recent study from Canada that looked at people with IBS who had been educated by a dietitian versus those who were self-taught (1). The performance of low FODMAP diet and clinical outcomes were not as good in the self-taught group compared to the dietitian group.
New challenges in IBS with COVID-19
|Negatives||Positives (very important to focus on these)|
|Increases personal stress||IBS patients should not carry an increased risk with COVID-19|
|Increases economic stress||It’s a good time to increase understanding and implement all phases of the low FODMAP diet|
|Limitations with the food supply||Dietary advice in the form of telehealth is very successful, and access to dietitians for expert advice through telehealth has increased.|
1. , , , . Implementation of the low FODMAP diet in functional gastrointestinal symptoms: A real‐world experience. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2019; 32:e13730. https://doi.org/10.1111/nmo.13730