Readers’ Questions – How Long Until I Feel Better?

I get a few emails each week asking me questions about IBS and the low-FODMAP diet and I thought it might be helpful to post some of them in case they are helpful for other readers. If you have a question, just email me on and I’ll try my best to answer it. Please remember though, that I’m not a doctor or nutrition expert, so always ask your GP if something is affecting your health.

Hi Kate,

I hope you don’t me emailing you. I have tried previously with the FODMAP diet without success. However it could be that I thought I could cheat because “x” food couldn’t possibly make me ill (or so I thought!) I now understand that simply isn’t true.

I am going to give it another go and have been looking for ways to ‘plan’ better. I came across your website and just wanted to say that it is really helpful.

Did the FODMAP diet help your symptoms and how long did it take to see improvements? I have been ill with IBS symptoms for 14 years, but I think I had vague symptoms prior to that.

Thanks again for taking the time to write your website.


Hi Sarah,

Thanks for emailing, and I’m glad you’ve found my blog helpful.

Yes, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking “Oh, it’s just a bit of onion, how can that possibly make me ill?” The reality, though, is that our digestive system is incredibly delicate and everyone’s reacts differently to different things.

Unfortunately, it’s a matter of cutting every possible irritant from your diet, then slowly reintroducing them in order to accurately test if they are a problem for you. It’s time consuming and frustrating, but it really is the only way.

On to your question… I have had IBS symptoms for years, but they became much worse ever since I had to take antibiotics for an infected wisdom tooth. It’s common for antibiotics to play havoc with your digestive system and take a pro-biotic usually helps, unfortunately not many doctors actually tell you this.

Initally, the FODMAP diet did improve my symptoms, but I believe this was mainly due to my reducing lactose and wheat/gluten. However, I was still eating low-lactose cheese, as well as oats and other non-gluten grains like corn and rice.

After experiencing some terrible pain after consuming a fair amount of brie one day, I came to the conclusion that I was pretty severely lactose intolerant. I have since removed lactose from my diet entirely and feel much better for it.

I also limit my intake of grains like oats and corn, although I do have rice from time to time (when I feel the need for a curry!) and this too has improved things significantly.

It’s important to reiterate that everyone is different. If you are successful with the basic FODMAP diet, then great! But if you feel it’s still not working for you, then it’s worth considering cutting out other things too, especially if you notice a correlation between certain foods and feeling ill.

I hope that helps!



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  1. Hiya, I’m in need of some help. I have had IBS for a few years now, I’m 22 and they have only now just recognised it as IBS and so I have been following the fodmap diet. Now I usually have it under control is I make sure I eat smaller portions and NOTHING that’s not on the list, it’s driving me a bit crazy but I can deal with it. But I am however always incredibly tired, can’t work out why as I have had so many blood tests, take supplements and iron tablets. Did you ever get to being so tired all the time? I don’t eat meat but eat a lot of fish and nut butters – lactose is a complete no go!! But struggle to find any variety in my diet. Today I literally had to run off a bus and use the nearest bush as a toilet, the least glamorous I’ve felt in a long time!!! However this seems to occur every now and then where I feel SO sick, start shaking as if I feel like I’m going to be sick then I need to instantly have a bowel movement or I’m in a lot of trouble right there. Has this ever happened or do you know of this being any problem with anyone? Sorry for the graphic content, I’m just at the end of my tether now!! Thanks so much.



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