Fodmap diet: strawberies

FODMAP diet for fertility and endometriosis

If you don’t have endometriosis, IBS (irritable bowel disease) or unexplained gastrointestinal problems, there is no known benefit of FODMAPs for fertility.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis share many common features like low-grade inflammation, hypersensitive abdomen, gut pain, bloating, distension, and altered bowel habits. When a woman comes to the specialist with chronic abdominal and/or pelvic symptoms, it can be challenging to decide if she has endometriosis, IBS or both.

For women with endometriosis, diet is especially effective to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms and reducing inflammation.

What is a FODMAP diet?

FODMAP is the acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.

The name is quite a mouth full, but actually, it is a group of simple carbohydrates found in a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains.

FODMAPs are small molecules that don’t absorb easily and stay in your gut fermenting. They tend to pull in water to the gut, causing gas, abdominal distension, pain and bloating.

This diet excludes foods that exaggerate the symptoms. Let’s have a look at what you should exclude.

  • Oligosaccharides are in wheat, rye, legumes, nuts artichokes, onion and garlic.
  • Disaccharide, primarily lactose, is in dairy products.
  • A monosaccharide is fructose. It is found in high amounts in processed foods containing corn syrup. It is also abundant in honey, sugar snap peas and fruits such as apples, pears, watermelon and mangos.
  • Polyols- (mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt) are in sugar-free foods like chewing gum and mints. Polyols are also in apples, pears, stone fruits, snow peas, mushrooms and cauliflower.

The new eating plan is introduced in stages:

  • restriction,
  • reintroduction,
  • personalisation.

Once you conclude these steps, you will have a personalised FODMAP menu.

There will be FODMAP components that you may react to, while others will not be important. In most cases, you will not be avoiding all FODMAPS. The individual eating plan will increase food variety and flexibility.

To start with, the FODMAP diet could be quite difficult to grasp. However, it’s worth giving it a go for everyone who is trying to conceive and have uncomfortable abdominal symptoms and/or have endometriosis. FODMAP diet offers gastrointestinal relief to up to 80% of IBS sufferers and up to 72% of women with endometriosis.

Diet resources: A good place to start is the Monash University website. They are creators of the FODMAP diet.