Irritable bowel syndrome and diet

Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf). 2017 Feb;5(1):11-19. doi: 10.1093/gastro/gow047. Epub 2017 Jan 20.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract and is one of the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal diseases. The impact of IBS on the general population is large due to its high prevalence, suboptimal medical treatments and significant economic burden. The pathophysiology of IBS is complex and treatments are often symptom-specific. The most common therapeutic approaches for IBS include education and reassurance, lifestyles (especially nutrition-based interventions), peripherally acting medications (which typically target motility), centrally acting medications (which target visceral hypersensitivity and pain) and psychological interventions (which aim to reduce the effects of stress or symptom-specific anxiety). A beneficial dietary approach might include the following measures: a diet low in fermentable oligo-,di- and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs), limitation or exclusion of gas-producing foods and/or lactose and gluten and fiber supplementation in selected cases. New therapeutic agents, namely nutraceutics, are also an interesting option in the management of IBS patients. This paper will focus on available dietary interventions for IBS and will review the evidence for nutrition-based therapies.

Keywords: FODMAPs; food; functional gastrointestinal disorders; intestinal microbiota; intolerance; irritable bowel syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review