Off to London again!

I am planning another trip to London tomorrow, this time to Imperial college London for a course on allergic gastrointestinal disease. I am looking forward to the lecture on eosinophilic oesophagitis and gastroesophageal reflux and other upper GI motility disorders.

IMG_1523modThis is the course, I was very lucky to have been sponsored by Allergy UK to attend the training.

I will blog about my trip and let you know how I get on.

Self care for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

As of last weekend the Self Care Plan for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is free access for those people with the condition and for those who might feel their symptoms are down to IBS, but are unsure and wish to know what to do next. Check it out here:

As the UK charity for people with IBS we felt it was important to have this information for everyone to access. I know of no other site that has information on symptoms, medical treatments, dietary treatments and psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression that often follows this diagnosis, in one area and including tools that can help

such as the bowel relaxation recording. It also has information on alternative treatments and how useful these are for symptoms. It has been checked by the IBS Network team of advisors including gastroenterologists, psychotherapists and dietitians to ensure the information is as comprehensive and evidenced based as it can be. We also requested members to comment as the best people to advise us are people who are living with this condition. The plan is still open to comment so do please get in touch if you wish to make any compliments, suggestions or constructive criticism, we do wish to continue to improve this tool.

The plan is also useful to health practitioners to aid patients in clinic, I use it when I am in clinic. We have 10-20% of the population in  the UK living with IBS at any one time so self-care is going to be vital to help people to manage, we hope the plan will be a tool that people are happy to use and perhaps more importantly happy to recommend to others to spread the word.

We still need membership to help us to continue as a charity – membership includes the self-care plan symptom checker, access to ask health professionals questions, the help line, can’t wait card and travel translation card.  Well worth joining, also to help us to continue to provide help and support for people with this condition.

“Read your labels” – retrospectively is no good! A reflection, a survey and slight feeling of dietetic hypocrisy.

It’s Saturday, I wake and stumble down the stairs bleary eyed, hairdo that wouldn’t look amiss on Edward Scissorhands. Cat’s breakfast is made first and then I make my morning cup of tea. First mistake of the day, I use cows milk – damn, now my inner consciousness devil voice starts to say “it’s only a splash of milk can this make a difference?, go on drink it” I think for a couple of seconds and decide that I will make another cup of tea with lactose free milk, then I make my porridge, again with lactose free milk. First critical lapse incident managed, cool!

Now for the confession. On Saturday I like to go for a coffee at a cafe and have my weekly treat a small biscuit or cake with my coffee. Now I asked for lactose free milk coffee  – ok so far, and then chose a coconut macaroon, wheat free – I did enquire if this was the only wheat free choice and I was told it was. Now, I’m not that fond of macaroons but it was the only choice, so I bought it and sat down to drink my coffee and read the paper. The more savvy of you here will be shouting at the screen “DID YOU READ THE LABEL?”, did I? Well, err, (feeling REALLY sheepish) not before I had bought it and certainly not before I had eaten a good portion of the biscuit :-(. I then decided unconsciously to take a peek at the ingredients list. This is where I was totally disappointed with myself because guess what? Yes!! Someone had added a FODMAP to my biscuit. SORBITOL of all

I don’t go this far! No finger wagging in my clinic.

things, in my biscuit, I felt so disappointed and really guilty of hypocrisy. You may be wondering why I feel hypocritical, well, in my clinic when I see people who have to use special diets reading labels is very important. When it gets to this part I furrow my brow and look quite serious and say “reading your labels is very important to following your diet and here is a list of what to look for”. People often say when I see them again that they have made mistakes and a good proportion of those are through not looking at the label. I suggest to them that this is part of the learning experience and then the advice is then reiterated, read the labels FIRST, before you buy and certainly before you eat.

So, I have joined the ranks of people who make retrospective label reading mistakes, perhaps this is a normal part of changing your diet and maybe everyone does this? At least I suppose you read it to see and are then aware of your mistake, but the damage is already done. It really makes you consider human behaviour in this, why would I do this now, when I was successful earlier on in the day? Was it because earlier I had another choice available, do you think? How many of you make this mistake – perhaps we could do a survey?

Survey is anonymous and will close in 1 month – if you wish to know more check this out or contact Polldaddy directly