Adherence and Effects Derived from FODMAP Diet on Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Real Life Evaluation of a Large Follow-Up Observation

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 27;12(4):928. doi: 10.3390/nu12040928.


Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome represents one of the most difficult gastroenterological diseases to treat, that usually induces the patients to follow different drug therapies, often not useful in symptom control. In this scenario low FODMAP diet could have positive effects in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, even because this type of diet regimen is characterized by a low gluten amount due to the exclusion of cereals.

Methods: We enrolled 120 patients with irritable bowel syndrome, according to the Rome IV criteria, who were referred to Hepatogastroenterology Division of the University of Campania L. Vanvitelli from June to December 2018. They underwent a low FODMAP diet for six weeks, followed by a gradual weekly reintroduction of every category of food for three months. The patients had a follow-up evaluation for six months after the end of food reintroduction period. We measured abdominal pain with subjective numerical scale from 0 to 10. We evaluated other gastrointestinal symptoms with a questionnaire about symptoms of lower digestive tract, evaluating their frequency and intensity. We also evaluated the impact of irritable bowel syndrome on daily life with neurological bowel dysfunction score.

Results: We obtained a good patient-adherence to diet and a statistically significant decrease of abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and neurological bowel dysfunction score (p < 0.001) at the end of the diet. These results remained constant in the follow-up period.

Conclusions: We recommend the use of a low FODMAP diet regimen in patients with irritable bowel syndrome in order to control the symptoms and improve the quality of life.

Keywords: IBS; diet; low FODMAPs; low gluten diet.