Meet The Gut Experts

Consultant Gastroenterologist Professor Barbara Ryan and Clinical Dietitian Elaine McGowan are passionate about digestive health. They’ve joined forces as The Gut Experts. Having worked together for over 13 years, they’ve spent a lot of time together discussing patients’ conditions, symptoms and solutions.

Professor Barbara Ryan


Elaine McGowan

M.Sc., B.Sc. (Human Nutrition and Dietetics),
Dip. Diet., RD, MINDI

Between them they’ve cared for tens of thousands of patients in a number of countries, and have a deep appreciation of the challenges and frustrations experienced by many patients living with digestive conditions. Their joint expertise of diet and nutrition, along with a detailed knowledge of the digestive system in sickness and in health, offers a powerful, holistic approach to the management of gut problems.


While in their clinical practice they treat patients with both organic and functional gut conditions, as The Gut Experts, Barbara and Elaine will focus on learning about and living with IBS and a related condition called Functional Dyspepsia, as they feel that many people diagnosed with these conditions are often left searching for more answers and advice. By sharing their expert knowledge gleaned from years of clinical experience and the most up-to-date research, they want to educate, empower and encourage eating for gut wellbeing to help people find the best solutions for managing their gut problems.

Why a special focus on women?

Approximately 70% of IBS sufferers are female. The female body undergoes a complex and extraordinary journey during our lifetime. Puberty, monthly hormone cycles and menstruation, pregnancy and labour, and finally menopause and the post-menopausal state, all have a significant impact on the female gut. The cells lining our digestive system have oestrogen (or estrogen) receptors which make our gut sensitive to hormonal fluctuations. What’s more, the healthy bacteria in our gut (the gut microbiota) are also capable of producing oestrogen which can also have an effect on gut function.

Gut health has become a popular topic of discussion in recent years. Whilst it’s exciting that so many people are interested in the workings of our amazing bodies, how can you trust information from so many sources, particularly when some of it seems conflicting?

The Gut Experts are here to help you on this journey of discovery.

Professor Barbara Ryan


Professor Barbara Ryan is a Consultant Gastroenterologist in a Dublin University Hospital and the Hermitage Medical Clinic, Dublin and a Clinical Professor with Trinity College, Dublin. She has been working as a gastroenterologist for over 25 years and is more passionate than ever about treating and helping people live with digestive conditions.

Barbara started Medical School at Trinity College at 16 and gained a coveted Trinity College Scholarship and a plethora of awards during her time in university. She completed a Doctoral thesis on Colorectal cancer and has a Masters in Molecular Medicine as well as healthcare management. Barbara completed her training in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine in Ireland and then spent a number of years working in Germany, The Netherlands and the UK, before returning to Ireland.

Professor Ryan was National Specialty Director for Training in Gastroenterology in Ireland for a number of years and has served on a number of advisory boards and committees within the field of gastroenterology and endoscopy.  She has a strong research pedigree and has published over 100 scientific articles on topics including pancreatic disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, endoscopy, colon cancer and coeliac disease, as well as several hundred abstracts at scientific meetings. Her profile can be seen on Researchgate and Google Scholar.

She strongly believes in an evidence-based approach to treating medical conditions, but also knows that this must go hand-in–hand with a holistic approach. This is particularly important in digestive conditions, where we know that the Gut-Brain axis plays such a big role in all gut conditions.

Elaine McGowan

M.Sc., B.Sc. (Human Nutrition and Dietetics), Dip. Diet., RD, MINDI

Elaine McGowan is one of Ireland’s leading private healthcare Dietitians and Clinical Nutritionists and she has been at the forefront of providing dietary solutions for IBS patients. She is based primarily at the Hermitage Medical Clinic and also at the Beacon Consultants’ Clinic, Dublin and Bons Secours Hospital, Limerick.

With over 35 years of experience, she specialises in dietary solutions for a range of gastrointestinal conditions including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Coeliac disease, diverticulosis and in more recent years both Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Functional Dyspepsia.

In 2010 Elaine travelled to Melbourne Australia to meet with one of the main researchers of the low FODMAP diet. Elaine was one of the first Dietitians in Ireland to train in, and embrace the low FODMAP diet as part of her dietary solutions for IBS. Since then her philosophy has further evolved and she has also educated many colleagues in the benefits of these dietary solutions for IBS patients.

In addition, Elaine also has a specialist interest in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), underactive thyroid, difficult weight loss and the functional gut symptoms associated with these conditions. She has successfully used personalised dietary strategies to help over 30,000 patients.

Elaine has designed, piloted, implemented and co-ordinated workplace wellbeing programmes for several prominent organisations in Ireland.

Elaine has extensive experience in sports nutrition and has a Masters in Sport Nutrition; ‘A nutritional evaluation of Elite Irish Athletes’. She has worked as a Sports Nutritionist with the Olympic Council of Ireland for the 1992, 1996 Olympic Games and with the sailing and rowing squads for 2000 Olympic Games. In the past she worked with the Irish National Rugby Squad, the National Training and Coaching Centre, and notably set up the sports nutrition component of the National Athlete Player Support Network in Ireland.

Elaine cares and caters for the patient as a whole, their psychological and emotional wellbeing is as much a part of her approach as is their diet.

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