Being able to accurately articulate your IBS symptoms with your health care provider can be very beneficial to your treatment especially when it comes to bloating. Did you know – bloating can mean different things to different people, and can help your health care team sort out what might be going on? In this episode of Let’s Gut Real, we cover patient-specific symptomology and how to ask the right questions about what bloating means.

Nutrition Pearls for IBS Symptom Language

  • Consider the value of patients being able to accurately describe their symptomology with their health care provider.
  • Know that bloating and distension are not the same. Bloating is a subjective feeling, whereas distension is an objective appearance. Bloating and distension can occur independently of one another, or at the same time.
  • Understand that IBS is both a sensory disorder and a motor-functioning disorder which includes symptoms of both hypersensitivity to normal stimuli, and patterns of irregular motility.
  • Understand the symptoms of “gas pooling” which can lead to a lot of discomfort in a specific area for IBS patients.
  • Understand that functional dyspepsia is a sensory disorder that affects the stomach rather than the gut and can result in symptoms like early onset bloating.
  • Learn how bloating presents differently in a variety of conditions – and how you can use that information to best guide patient care and intervention

Today I interview RD Tamara Duker Freuman on IBS symptom language and why getting clear on it is helpful for practitioners as well as for patients.

Tamara Duker Freuman is a registered dietitian and is nationally known for her expertise in digestive health and medical nutrition therapy for gastrointestinal diseases.  She works out of East River Gastroenterology & Nutrition (, a private Manhattan-based practice known for its expertise in disorders of the gut-brain axis and specialized diagnostics.

In addition to her clinical work, Tamara is a high-profile nutrition writer whose advice on healthy living and dietary management of digestive disease has been read by hundreds of thousands of people each month.

Tamara is the author of one of my favorite books – The Bloated Belly Whisperer. If you haven’t read it, you absolutely need to. Today, she is here to talk to us about everything bloating related.

We talk about:

  • Tamara’s background and how she became interested in digestive disorders
  • The difference between bloating and distension and why they occur
  • How bloating and distension relate to IBS symptom management
  • The symptom of constipation induced bloating
  • The symptom of upper gut bloating / early onset bloating 
  • Functional dyspepsia what it is, and how it is different from IBS
  • The symptoms of impaired gastric accommodation
  • Whether bloating is always related to food
  • If ‘I feel bloated’ is the new ‘I feel fat’ and what people should know about the intersection of body image and bloating
  • Body dysmorphia, how to identify it in patients and the different treatment approaches to consider

Connect with Tamara on her website at on Instagram @tamarafreuman or on Twitter or on her Facebook here as well!

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