Seeing a Dietitian for IBS in Canada: What to Know

by | Jun 13, 2023 | IBS

Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a lonely and frustrating experience. The unpredictable nature of IBS symptoms can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, with the guidance and expertise of a dietitian for IBS, people can find relief and regain control over their gut health.


Unfortunately, the cost of a dietitian often prevents people from seeking the care they need. If this is the case, you’ll need to see a dietitian covered by insurance. This article explores the many benefits of working with a dietitian for IBS management, as well as tips for finding a dietitian covered by insurance in Canada.


Benefits of Seeing a Dietitian for IBS

There are many benefits of seeing a dietitian for IBS management. Registered dietitians undergo extensive training in university, completed a supervised, year-long internship, and are required to complete continuing education activities to maintain their competency and license.  


Here are five of the main benefits of working with a dietitian for IBS.


Dietitians Use a Personalized and Targeted Approach to IBS Management

IBS is a highly individualized condition, and the things that trigger symptoms for one person may not affect another person. A dietitian for IBS understands this and will tailor their treatment approach to meet your specific needs.


Your IBS dietitian will work closely with you to identify trigger foods, develop personalized meal plans, and recommend lifestyle changes that are aligned with your goals and preferences.


IBS Dietitians Have In-Depth Knowledge and Expertise

IBS dietitians are well-versed in the ins and outs of IBS. They understand the complex relationship between diet, lifestyle, gut health, and IBS symptoms. A dietitian will practice from an evidence-based perspective, using scientific evidence to guide their recommendations.


If you’re interested in following the low FODMAP diet to manage your IBS, a dietitian can help. The low FODMAP diet can be a restrictive diet and requires careful implementation and monitoring to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need to thrive.


As a Monash FODMAP-trained IBS dietitian, Keren can guide you through the different phases of the low FODMAP diet, provide meal planning assistance, and help you understand food labels and hidden sources of FODMAPs. More importantly, an IBS dietitian can help you strategically reintroduce FODMAPs into your diet so you can identify your specific trigger foods.


Check out how I can help with meal planning too.


Dietitians Can Provide Emotional Support and Empathy

Living with IBS is not just physically draining – it can be emotionally draining as well. A dietitian for IBS management understands the emotional challenges that accompany an IBS diagnosis and can provide much-needed support and empathy.


An IBS dietitian can be a trusted ally who listens to your concerns, offers guidance, and helps you maintain a positive mindset during your IBS journey. Plus, they can be an important advocate for connecting you with other healthcare providers who can help with IBS management.


IBS Dietitians Take a Holistic Approach to Wellness

While diet plays an important role in managing IBS symptoms, it is not the only factor that influences symptoms. Other factors like lifestyle, stress, sleep, and exercise can all impact gut health.


A dietitian for IBS management will help you address these interconnected aspects of IBS and can help you develop strategies to manage stress, get better sleep, and incorporate exercise into your routine.


Dietitians Can Help You Save Money in the Long-Term

Even if your dietitian is not covered by insurance, working with a dietitian for IBS management will likely save you money in the long term. By working with a dietitian, you can avoid expensive diets and supplements that don’t work and instead focus on strategies for IBS management that are backed by science. Plus, by getting your symptoms under control, you may be able to avoid costs associated with IBS symptoms (such as having to take time off work or medical costs).


Is My IBS Dietitian Covered by Insurance?

The cost of seeing a private practice dietitian in Canada is not currently covered by provincial health insurance plans. However, a report published in 2020 found that between 60% and 70% of Canadians with employer benefits had coverage for dietitian services.


As of July 1, 2023, the Public Service Health Care Plan will include $300 per calendar year for dietitian services, with no prescription required. If you don’t have employee benefits, dietitian services are a medical expense that can be claimed on your taxes in most provinces.


If you’re not sure whether you have coverage for dietitian services, get in touch with your employee benefits program to confirm coverage before your first visit with a dietitian. Some important questions to ask about your insurance coverage include:

  • What is the dollar amount of my coverage for dietitian services?
  • Do I need a referral from a doctor to qualify for dietitian service coverage?
  • What does my plan cover (e.g., initial assessments, follow-up visits)?
  • Are there any limits on the number of follow-up visits I can attend?
  • Are group sessions covered? Group sessions are a more cost-effective option if they are covered by your insurance plan.


How Can I Find a Dietitian Near Me?

To find a dietitian near you, use the Dietitians of Canada “Find a Dietitian” tool. It allows you to find Canadian dietitians based on health concerns, language, and location.


Client Success: Grace’s Story

Grace (name has been changed to protect privacy) was a vibrant woman in her 50s who had been struggling with persistent constipation. She attended a free community education program and was advised to increase her fibre and fluid intake to combat constipation.


Grace diligently followed these recommendations, but ended up in severe pain, leading her to the emergency room. After various tests, doctors diagnosed her with IBS but didn’t provide much guidance on managing the condition.


Feeling overwhelmed and lost, Grace researched her condition and learned about the low FODMAP diet. She decided to seek the support of a dietitian for IBS management and found Keren.


Keren assessed Grace’s nutritional, medical, and lifestyle history and found that Grace’s high-fibre diet might be triggering her symptoms. Keren educated and guided Grace to follow the low FODMAP diet. Over several weeks and visits, Keren worked closely with Grace to guide her through the three phases of the low FODMAP diet.


Gradually, Grace’s symptoms began to subside, and she learned which foods to avoid, and which foods worked well for her. Today, Grace manages her IBS effectively with her personalized diet plan. She feels confident about her food choices and no longer lives in fear of her symptoms.


Final Thoughts

Working with a dietitian for IBS management can be a game-changer for people seeking relief from IBS symptoms. Their expertise, personalized approach, and emotional support can empower you to take control of your gut health. They can be a trusted partner who understands your unique challenges and helps you navigate IBS management.


Keren is registered with Telus Health for eClaims. eClaims is a service provided by Telus Health that allows your healthcare providers to submit insurance claims on your behalf. This can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.

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Eating well with IBS shouldn’t be difficult or time-consuming. If you’re looking for expert advice on your IBS diet, check out my coaching or my personalized meal planning services. I also offer a one-time, free consultation for us to discuss your nutritional needs and whether we’re a good fit to work together.


Get in touch with Keren and book a free 15-minute discovery call today!

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