Do Restrictive Diets Offer Greater Symptom Alleviation for Irritable Bowel Syndrome than Medical Treatments? - European Medical Journal

Do Restrictive Diets Offer Greater Symptom Alleviation for Irritable Bowel Syndrome than Medical Treatments?

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RESTRICTIVE diets have been demonstrated to be superior to optimised medical treatments alone in treating patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to study results presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2022. “There are several different treatment options that are effective in alleviating symptoms of IBS, and dietary treatment indeed can be encouraged as a first-line treatment option,” stated Sanna Nybacka, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Nybacka and her research team undertook a randomised, controlled investigation on 302 adult patients with moderate to severe IBS, assigning them randomly to three treatment groups. The groups either received, a diet with low total carbohydrate content; a diet combining low fermentable oglio-, di-, and monosaccharides, and polyols with tradition dietary advice (LFTD), or an optimised medical treatment strategy (OMT) for four weeks.

The researchers found that all three interventions reduced IBS symptom severity; however, notably they found a greater change in severity in the two dietary interventions compared with OMT. Analysis found that 72% of patients in the low total carbohydrate content group met the primary end point and 75% of patients in the LFTD group, compared with only 58% in the OMT group. No significant different was found between the two diets.

“Our findings support the current guidelines in treatment of IBS, where a positive diagnosis of IBS is crucial for a successful management of IBS and should be followed by general lifestyle intervention and dietary advice,” summarised Nybacka. “Medical treatment should be guided by the patient’s symptoms profile and preference as a second-line treatment option.”

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