Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gut disorder characterised by abdominal pain, stomach distension and bowel dysfunction; loose bowels, constipation or a fluctuation between the two.
IBS is now one of the most common problems of the digestive system and about one in six people have symptoms. The disease can develop at any age, but most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 15 and 40. Most people’s symptoms are so mild that they never see a doctor for treatment. However, some people have really troublesome symptoms, especially abdominal cramps, bloating, and urgent diarrhoea which seriously affect their quality of life. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not well understood.
Treatment for IBS usually focuses on changes in diet and lifestyle, avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, and managing stress. Individuals with IBS need to feel actively involved in their treatment; taking control and feeling empowered are really vital as IBS can seem like such an unpredictable condition. Some foods will nearly always cause symptoms while others don’t, and it can be incredibly frustrating trying to pin down what you can and can’t eat without suffering an attack. The problem with attempting any dietary modification is that first you need to know what to change.
Currently the best accepted method for confirming food sensitivities is by elimination diet. This involves eating a restricted diet for several weeks. If there is no improvement during this time, it is assumed that the food type that has been restricted is not causing the symptoms, and the process is repeated with another food type. This method is very time consuming, and because it is impossible to test all the different combinations of food types that may be causing the problems, it is a very ineffective process. Another option is to use a ‘few foods’ diet whereby only limited foods are given, for example rice, lettuce, turkey, pears and multivitamins, and while this approach can achieve good results it is not considered practical and certainly isn’t advisable long-term.
The most scientific approach used to identify which food types are causing IBS symptoms is a blood test that measures food-specific IgG antibodies, and there is only one food-specific IgG test available, the YorkTest foodSCAN, that has significant clinical data to support its use.
YorkTest has 25 years of experience in the food intolerance testing market and has widely published test data to show that, in those with IBS, over 3 out of 4 will show significant benefit if they remove those foods that have shown a reaction in the foodSCAN test. The foodSCAN test was also used in the only IBS randomised controlled trial of its kind, showing a significant reduction in stomach distension, bowel dysfunction also a reduction in factors such as pain and fatigue and an increase in general well-being. The fact that people see a return of symptoms on reintroduction of the foods identified by the food-specific IgG test supports the fact that this is an active and specific approach.
The test only requires a few drops of blood that can be collected in the comfort of your own home. You then send your sample off to the laboratory who can then identify what food groups you are intolerant to. It’s as simple as that! BOLA TANGKAS
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