Questions? We have answers.

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.

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.

If you have a diagnosis of IBS we recommend trying the First Line Approaches to begin with. If you are still suffering with gut symptoms having made these changes we recommend making an appointment to see a registered dietitian or trying The FLAT Gut Diet Plan.

If you have a diagnosis of FD we recommend following a personalised diet plan developed by a registered dietitian. This may, amongst other things involve eating less but more often i.e. “little and often”, eating slowly, and avoiding cold fluids. Spicy foods and alcohol should be kept to a minimum.

If you don’t already have a diagnosis we recommend you seek an appointment with your GP/Family Doctor and keep a food and symptom diary in the meantime.

IBS – Yes. This diet and lifestyle plan has been clinically designed for managing IBS
Bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea or constipation – Yes, provided that your symptoms have been discussed with your GP / family doctor and/or have been appropriately investigated
IBD – Yes. If you are in remission and still suffering with some gut symptoms you may find benefit. Many people with IBD can have ‘IBS overlay’ symptoms when their IBD is in remission
Coeliac – Yes. You should swap gluten-containing products for gluten-free versions e.g. breads, pastas, cereals and biscuits
SIBO – Yes. However, fructose and lactose should be limited to 2 points each day until SIBO is eliminated. You may then experiment with increasing these in the Tolerance step.
Pregnant – Yes, this is a safe, nutritionally balanced diet. It is important to follow National Healthy Eating and Food Safety Guidelines during pregnancy in your home country. We would also encourage you to increase lactose first or second when you begin the Tolerance step.
Hormonal Issues – Yes. Women with PCOS, endometriosis or those experiencing perimenopause and menopause may find relief from uncomfortable and painful gut symptoms that are typically associated with hormonal changes by following this diet.
Underweight – We would advise you to see your GP/Family Doctor. If you have been diagnosed with an eating disorder we do not recommend you follow The FLAT Gut Diet Plan. It is important that you seek appropriate professional medical and dietary advice.
Under 18 – We recommend you see your GP/Family Doctor to discuss your symptoms and circumstances.
Males – Yes, The FLAT Gut Diet Plan is suitable for males.

If you don’t already have a diagnosis of a gut condition, you should first make an appointment to see your GP/Family Doctor. Based on your symptoms and physical examination, your Doctor will consider a possible diagnosis and may suggest doing some bloods or tests for possible causes.

If you have avoided a food for an extended period of time it is possible that you will experience some gut symptoms when you reintroduce this back into your diet. This is not uncommon and may be because your gut bacteria are enjoying something they have been deprived of, but this should settle. If your symptoms are mild we would encourage you to continue to experiment with this food for up to one month.

First, try not to worry. Review your FLAT GUT Diet: symptom and lifestyle diary and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you adhering to the diet?
  • Are you experiencing any external stressors?
  • Are you getting sufficient exercise and sleep?

A number of things can contribute to an IBS symptom flare so try to identify what may have triggered the flare.
Revert to a day/s in the diet plan that you know you tolerate well and follow these until your symptoms subside.
You should also take some gentle exercise and stay well hydrated. You may also feel more comfortable by having a warm bath, drinking peppermint tea/taking peppermint capsules and using a hot water bottle.
It can take up to a week for a symptom flare to settle. Assume the diet plan when
you feel ready.

We recommend 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise each day. This may be walking, gentle jogging, yoga, Qigong, pilates, exercise classes, dance, swimming and cycling or other forms of exercise. We recommend choosing exercises that you enjoy and can carry out on a regular basis.

Research has shown that professionally delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Hypnotherapy can improve IBS symptoms. If you’d like to explore this further, talk to your GP/Family Doctor about a recommendation to a certified/accredited professional. Of course, therapies like CBT and Counselling can also be of benefit for those without gut symptoms.

If you wish to contact The Gut Experts, please do so via the Contact Form. Please note we cannot provide individual medical or dietary advice.

Patients require a GP referral to see Professor Ryan. Please contact your GP who will assess the best path for you.

Patients require a GP or Consultant referral to see Elaine McGowan. Please contact your GP/Consultant who will assess the best path for you.

If you would like to arrange for The Gut Experts to speak at your event please email

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