How Patients with IBS Use Low FODMAP Dietary Information Provided by General Practitioners and Gastroenterologists: A Qualitative Study

Nutrients. 2019 Jun 11;11(6):1313. doi: 10.3390/nu11061313.


There is a lack of dietitians trained to deliver the low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) diet (LFD) for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many patients receive nutritional information from general practitioners (GPs) or gastroenterologists (GEs). Since the LFD is dietitian-led, the aim of this research was to qualitatively explore the effects of GP- and GE-delivered LFD information, in IBS self-management. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in a purposive sample of 8 people with IBS (6 female), who used the LFD as their primary treatment. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to develop themes on the lived experience of the participant's use of LFD information from GPs and GEs. This information was perceived as trustworthy but simplistic; often just "food lists" with little personalisation to meet individual needs and difficult to apply in "real life". The information required substantial interpretation and the familial and social effects of implementation were not addressed in the materials provided. Supplementary digital resources were regarded as more practical but the participants expressed concern in relation to the validity of these materials. The findings in this study support current clinical guidelines proposed by both the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the British Dietetic Association that the LFD should be considered a dietitian-led only intervention.

Keywords: education delivery; irritable bowel syndrome; low FODMAP diet; nutritional information.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / psychology*
  • Dietetics / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Gastroenterology / methods
  • General Practice / methods
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult