Partially hydrolyzed guar gum in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation: effects of gender, age, and body mass index

Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2015 Mar-Apr;21(2):104-10. doi: 10.4103/1319-3767.153835.


Background/aims: Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) relieves symptoms in constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and may have prebiotic properties. However, the correlation between the effectiveness of PHGG and patient characteristics has not been examined. We aimed to investigate the effect of PHGG in symptom relief on constipation-predominant IBS according to gender, age, and body mass index (BMI).

Patients and methods: Sixty-eight patients with IBS entered a 2-week run-in period, followed by a 4-week study period with PHGG. Patients completed a daily questionnaire to assess the presence of abdominal pain/discomfort, swelling, and the sensation of incomplete evacuation. The number of evacuations/day, the daily need for laxatives/enemas and stool consistency-form were also evaluated. All patients also underwent a colonic transit time (CTT) evaluation.

Results: PHGG administration was associated with a significant improvement in symptom scores, use of laxatives/enemas, stool form/consistency and CTT. At the end of the study period and compared with baseline, the number of evacuations improved in women, patients aged ≥ 45 years and those with BMI ≥ 25 (P < 0.05 for all comparisons); abdominal bloating improved in males (P < 0.05), patients < 45 years (P < 0.01) and those with BMI < 25 (P < 0.05). A decrease in the number of perceived incomplete evacuations/day was reported in patients with a BMI ≥ 25 (P < 0.05). Reductions in laxative/enema use were recorded in females (P < 0.05), patients < 45 years (P < 0.01), and patients with BMI < 25 (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Gender, age, and BMI seem to influence the effect of PHGG supplementation in constipated IBS patients. Further studies are needed to clarify the interaction of such parameters with a fiber-enriched diet.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Constipation / epidemiology
  • Constipation / etiology
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Galactans / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mannans / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Gums / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Galactans
  • Mannans
  • Plant Gums
  • guar gum