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Book Review: The First Year: IBS

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Updated March 07, 2012

Book Review: The First Year: IBS
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber

In a perfect world, The First Year: IBS would be handed to every patient when they first receive an IBS diagnosis. The sub-title says it all: "A Patient-Expert Walks You Through Everything You Need to Learn and Do". The book really does provide an overview of everything you need to know about living with and managing IBS, through a week by week, month by month approach. Van Vorous offers all of this valuable information through writing that is as supportive as it is easy-to-read.

About the Author

Her self-proclaimed description of "patient-expert" sums up Heather Van Vorous nicely. An IBS sufferer herself, she is a writer who focuses on the relationship between food and digestive health. In addition to The First Year: IBS, Van Vorous is the author of the classic IBS cookbook Eating for IBS. She runs the website HelpForIBS.com, is the founder of Heather’s Tummy Care, and serves as the host of a television show Heather Cooks!

Strong Points

  • The book offers comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the disorder: diet, medications, stress management options, and tips for dealing with daily life challenges, such as holidays and travel.
  • Simply put, Van Vorous is an excellent writer. Her writing is free of jargon, and her approach is warm and supportive.
  • In addition to providing practical skills for managing IBS, Van Vorous encourages the reader to develop a life that goes beyond just coping with the disorder.
  • Van Vorous includes many of the principles found in her cookbook, offering a way to manage symptoms through careful attention to diet.
  • A unique aspect to this book is the inclusion of practical tips for helping children to cope with IBS, offered from Van Vorous' true-life experiences. This much-needed advice will be a godsend to struggling parents.


  • My only complaint, silly as it is, is the title. It might just be me, but the title led me to believe that this is a memoir, something it surely is not.

Is This Book for You?

As I stated above, this book should be required reading for all IBS sufferers. Van Vorous stands as an inspiration that having IBS does not subject you to a life of misery and isolation. Rather, she offers a way to practice healthy self-care and lead a rich, fulfilling life.

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