Early experience with a low FODMAP diet in Asian patients with irritable bowel syndrome

JGH Open. 2018 Jul 6;2(5):178-181. doi: 10.1002/jgh3.12069. eCollection 2018 Oct.


Background: The efficacy and acceptance of a low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet in Asian adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remain uncertain. We aimed to describe our early experience in a single center with a dedicated gastroenterology dietetic service.

Methods: Consecutive patients with IBS referred to our dedicated Dietetic Gastroenterology Clinic between February 2016 and May 2016 were screened. A low FODMAP diet was instituted as per standard protocol. Data on demographic and clinical variables were obtained from patients' records and prospective telephone interviews.

Results: A total of 16 patients, with a median age of 67 ± 13.57 years; female gender n = 10 (62.5%); ethnicity: Chinese n = 8 (50%), Indian n = 5 (31.25%), and Malay n = 3 (18.75%) with IBS, were included in the study. Compliance with the low FODMAP diet was complete in 8 of 16 (50%) patients, partial in 4 of 16 (25%), and 4 of 16 (25%) could not comply with the diet at all. Improvement in symptoms were reported in 11 of 16 (68.8%) patients. Among patients who complied (complete/partial) with the low FODMAP diet, predominant symptom improvement was reported as follows: abdominal pain 3 of 5 (60%), abdominal bloating/distension 7 of 10 (70%), and flatulence 7 of 8 (87.5%). Patients with the IBS-D subtype appeared to have the greatest improvement in stool consistency (87.5% IBS-D vs 12.5% non-IBS-D, P = 0.009).

Conclusion: Based on our pilot observational study of a relatively small sample of Asian IBS patients, compliance with a low FODMAP diet appears to be low. Further larger studies are required to verify our observation.

Keywords: Asia; early experience; irritable bowel syndrome; low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols diet; treatment.