Haywood Regional Medical Center (HRMC) dietitian Rebecca Rothwell, MS, RDN, LDN recently completed courses to become certified in both celiac and FODMAP disorders. These certifications add to the skills available to patients utilizing HRMC’s nutrition services.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.
“At this time, the only cure for celiac disease is a life-long gluten free diet, which, if followed strictly, can be life-changing for the better. The downside is that the gluten free diet can be extremely tedious to follow because many common foods become off limits,” Rothwell said. “I wanted to pursue this certification in order to be able to support people in making this transition as smooth as possible. I can help people new to the gluten free diet learn the ins and outs of eating in social situations and enjoying gluten free versions of their favorite foods, as well as making sure their new eating patterns are nutritionally complete.”

While celiac disease is relatively well known, the term FODMAP may be newer to the general public. FODMAP, or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly in some individuals. FODMAP diets are typically temporary, elimination diets to help patients determine which foods affect them poorly. It also been shown to help those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A FODMAP diet can greatly improve those with GI symptoms related to IBS such as gas, bloating, pain or change in bowel habits. A dietitian is a good asset – especially through the elimination phase – as patients work to understand their own bodies and nutritional needs. For more information about Haywood Regional Medical Center’s nutrition services, call 828-452-8092 or 828-452-8084.

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