If you have IBS, you probably have lots of theories about what foods you can safely eat and what foods will serve as triggers. Or, you may be totally confused by it all as some days you can eat some foods and be fine and then eat the same foods a different time and feel absolutely awful. What you may be concerned about is whether or not you are getting adequate nutrition, particularly if you have decided that many healthy foods are more likely to result in an IBS flare-up. If you are struggling with figuring out how to make sure you are giving your body the foods that it needs to stay healthy, you may want to think about consulting with a dietitian.
Dietitians are health professionals who are trained in helping people to establish healthy eating habits. Before scheduling an appointment with a dietitian, there are several questions you should ask:
"What are your credentials?"
Make sure that the dietitian has training from an accredited program and that they are registered or licensed to practice according to the requirements of your country or state.
"Do you have experience working with IBS patients?"
Make sure that the dietitian is sensitive to the issues surrounding IBS and food.
"What costs are involved? Will my insurance cover the cost of the session?"
Make sure that you are fully informed as to your out-of-pocket costs before scheduling your first appointment.
The following websites offer databases of registered dietitians:
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association, offers an interactive map to help you to find a dietitian in your area. You can either zoom in on your town or enter your zip code. You will then be presented with a list of registered dietitians, with information provided as to their areas of specialty.
This website not only includes a list of accredited dietitians but also provides a list of professionals who have been suspended or expelled from the Association. The database allows you to search by name, location, and specialty areas, which includes a link for "gastrointestinal disorders". Each practitioner has a profile page which includes contact information, area of specialty, hours of operation, and other basic information.
This site allows you to search by name, location or keyword. I used the term "gastrointestinal" and was presented with a list of dietitians who include IBS on their profile. Each dietitian has their own profile which includes a brief description of their experience and practice, contact information, and list of specialty areas.
This site allows you to search by location or specialty, including an option for "Gut or Bowel Problem". Clicking on the link for each practice or dietitian brings you to a page with a brief overview of their practice and a description of specialty areas.
United Kingdom: British Dietetic Association "Freelance Dietitians"
This site allows you to search for a dietitian by location or area of specialty and includes a link for dietitians who specialize in IBS. Each registered dietitian has a profile page, where you can get basic information about their experience and their practice.
New Zealand: Dietitians NZ "Find a Dietitian"
This site allows for search by location. Clicking on a link for each individual dietitian will provide you with contact and specialty information.
How to Find a low-FODMAP Dietitian
The low-FODMAP diet has received good research support in reducing IBS symptoms. The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help and Support Group has published a registry of dietitians who are familiar with the diet:
- Low FODMAP diet - Worldwide Dietitian Registry
- FODMAP-Friendly Dietitian Directory (Patsy Catsos Website)
Another option is to work with a health coach. Although not trained as heavily in the science of nutrition as dietitians are, health coaches are trained to work closely with their clients on making nutrition and lifestyle changes to address health problems. Here are two resources:
- Institute of Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Directory
- Institute for the Psychology of Eating Coach Directory
Related Reading from Dr. Bolen, your IBS Expert: