Is your gut bothering you?

by HealthyBeings on July 9, 2010

Is your gut bothering you?


Regular pain, bloating, diarrhoea and or constipation is not normal and isn’t something you should just have to put up with. In some cases making a change to your diet can really help.

Case study 1 – 28 year old male

Contracted a stomach bug while on holiday in Asia 

Symptoms: persistent diarrhoea and stomach cramping treated with a course of antibiotics

Two months on, diarrhoea still present and occurring up to 10 times per day

Low energy levels, fatigued and emotional, accompanied by rapid weight loss

Testing: gastroscopy, colonoscopy, coeliac testing, intestinal and colonic biopsies

Findings: low levels of disaccharidases


How can a dietitian help?


Foods containing disaccharides (lactose, maltose and sucrose) need to be identified and initially removed from the diet. This will give the gut a chance to heal before gradually re introducing these foods back into the diet.

A time line and an outcome


  • 1st appointment (2 months after onset): medical history, signs and symptoms, current diet, patient education re sources of disaccharides in the diet, label reading and alternative foods.

Client presents: Weight = 64 kg (normal weight 75kg) diarrhoea up to 10 times a day before 10am, not working, fatigued and emotional. 

Assessment: disaccharidases reduced, continuous exposure to disaccharides from food irritate the gut and cause diarrhoea and nutrients are not absorbed as evidenced by drastic weight loss.


  • 2nd appointment (2 weeks later): signs and symptoms, confidence with new diet, determine effectiveness of dietary changes.

Client presents: Weight = 63kg (still decreasing), diarrhoea only two or three times per day. Energy levels improving, back to work.   

Assessment: reducing the amount of disaccharides in the diet has reduced the diarrhoea and will give the gut a chance to start recovering. Continue with diet for another 2 weeks.

  • 3rd and final appointment (2 weeks later): signs and symptoms, potential re introduction of foods to the diet

Client presents:  Weight = 64.3kg (up 1.3kg, first weight increase in 3 months!), diarrhoea is infrequent and can be linked to lapses in the diet. Participated in exercise for the first time in three months and is happy to be back at work. 

Assessment: gut is healing as indicated by weight re-gain.  Slowly re-introducing foods containing disaccharides back in to the diet in low doses is now possible.

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