[Malabsorption of fermentable oligo-, di-, or monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) as a common cause of unclear abdominal discomfort]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2014 Jun;139(24):1310-4. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1370108. Epub 2014 Jun 3.
[Article in German]


Carbohydrate malabsorption is a frequent but underestimated cause of unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms like meteorism, flatulence, pain and diarrhea. By means of hydrogen and/or methane breath test after ingestion of the respective carbohydrate it can be identified and diagnosed easily, fast and reliably by successful nutritional therapy. Besides the well known complaints caused by lactose and fructose malabsorption, other fermentable oligo-, di-, or monosaccharides and polyols (akronym: FODMAP) can cause abdominal discomfort and IBS-like symptoms. In addition to lactose (dairy products) and fructose (apples, pears, mango, watermelon), FODMAPs comprise galactans (legumes), fructans (wheat, onions, garlic, artichoke) and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol and xylitol (sugar free candy, light products). A general restriction of all FODMAP components can be beneficial in relieving symptoms and improving quality of life in patients with functional gastrointestinal complaints.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diet therapy
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology*
  • Breath Tests
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors / etiology*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Colonoscopy
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Disaccharides / adverse effects*
  • Disaccharides / metabolism
  • Fermentation*
  • Humans
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / diet therapy
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / etiology*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / metabolism
  • Oligosaccharides / adverse effects*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Sugar Alcohols / adverse effects*
  • Sugar Alcohols / metabolism


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Disaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Sugar Alcohols

Supplementary concepts

  • Glucose-Galactose Malabsorption