What is causing my gut issues?

About half of Australian adults report experiencing unpleasant gut symptoms, including bloating, gas constipation and diarrhoea, with 1 in 7 experiencing distressing symptoms. Gut issues can have negative impacts on day-to-day life, including reduced productivity through lost working days and a decrease in quality of life through fear of eating out or the uncertainty of bathroom access when working, socialising or travelling. Minor symptoms after eating can be considered normal (e.g. small amount of bloating or flatulence after certain foods) but symptoms that cause a disruption in your life should be further investigated.

Where do I start?

There are many potential causes of gut issues, so before considering trying a new diet, or cutting out foods, speak to your GP. They can conduct a range of investigations to rule out any condition that could be contributing to symptoms, such as Coeliac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis), Irritable Bowel Disease, GORD, endometriosis, PCOS, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), hypothyroidism, helicobacter pylori, pelvic floor dysfunction and much more. Your Accrediting Practising Dietitian from Dietwise can also help identify which tests you may need to have done. These conditions are important to rule out first, as they can have long-term negative health consequences that need to be addressed.

If one of our dietitians recommends you get screened for Coeliac Disease, it is important that you consume a certain amount of gluten-containing foods leading up to the serology (blood test) or biopsy. If you are on a gluten-free diet, or you have been limiting your carbohydrate intake, you are likely not eating enough gluten for the tests to be a true negative result. Our dietitians can work with you to meet gluten intake recommendations in a way that minimises or does not exacerbate your symptoms or make recommendations for alternative diagnostic testing.

I’ve been to the GP and have been diagnosed with IBS. What now?

Once you’ve spoken to your GP and nothing has shown up from your tests, they may diagnose you with IBS, a functional gut disorder. If your GP has recommended commencing a low FODMAP diet wait to speak to a dietitian before starting. A low FODMAP diet can help manage symptoms, however, is not always safe to do and is a very restrictive diet. A dietitian can do a comprehensive assessment to determine if a low FODMAP diet is the next step for you, or if there are other areas in your diet or lifestyle that need to be addressed first.

Other potential causes or contributors to gut issues that a dietitian will explore include:

  • If you are skipping meals and/or snacks, resulting in overeating or binge eating
  • If you currently are, or recently have been restricting your intake for weight loss
  • If you have removed certain food from your diet e.g., grains, gluten-containing foods or carbohydrates
  • Your fibre and fluid intake
  • Your eating pace
  • Presence of food intolerances e.g. lactose intolerance
  • If you are experiencing delayed emptying of your stomach
  • If you are consuming a high amount of gut irritants such as fatty, spicy foods, sugar alcohols
  • Your caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Your sleep quality
  • Your anxiety or stress levels
  • Presence of an undiagnosed eating disorder
  • What medications or supplements you are taking
  • Your physical activity levels

In conclusion, there are many potential causes of gut issues and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. As a first step, speak to your GP about your gut issues so they can rule out any medical conditions. Next, consult a dietitian to see if there are any diet or lifestyle modifications that could resolve symptoms. All our dietitians are skilled in gut issues and are Monash University Low FODMAP diet certified, so will be able to help you achieve your goal of symptom management and relief. Reach out today to our Dietwise Care Coordinators to get started by contacting us on – 08 9388 2423 or You can even contact us through our website here. We are open 6 days per week for in-person and Telehealth appointments including both after-hours and Saturdays.

Written by:

Caylah Batt

Accredited Practising Dietitian

Accredited Nutritionist


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