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Is the low FODMAP diet a treatment for IBS?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
FODMAP diet a treatment for children with IBS

If you are looking for a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome known as IBS that could work, consider the FODMAP diet. What did researchers find in a study about how certain foods can significantly alleviate symptoms of IBS?


If your child suffers from irritable bowel syndrome or IBS you may want to consider the FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet. Incorporating foods that are low in certain sugars into your child's diet could help with treatment of IBS.

FODMAPs diet can make a difference for IBS

Bruno Chumpitazi, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston tested the diet among 52 children.

Children given low amounts of FODMAP foods experienced a twenty percent reduction in abdominal pain and bloating compared to a group given higher amounts of the fermentable sugars during the study period."The difference was statistically significant (P is less than 0.01) and the 20% reduction in episodes is clinically meaningful,” Dr. Chumpitazi said.

Chumpitazi also said: “When comparing the two dietary interventions, there was less bloating, nausea, breath hydrogen production and a trend toward decreased abdominal discomfort...on the low-FODMAPs diet."

The researchers are also analyzing whether the low FODMAP diet changes gut bacteria.

See: 5 reasons this MD thinks you should try the FODMAP diet.

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The study

For their investigation Chumpitazi and his team gave children age 7 to 17 either a low or high FODMAP diet for seven days after completing a questionnaire documenting their symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

The finding of the study suggests the diet can be used as a treatment for IBS that is brought about by changes in how the GI tract works.

Irritable bowel syndrome in children includes a variety of symptoms that include diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramping and affects. The condition is thought to affect up to fourteen percent of high school students and six percent of children in middle school.

The diet has also been recommended as a treatment for people diagnosed with Crohn's disease and colitis.

You might also consider the diet if you have gluten sensitivity.

The low fermented sugar diet consisted of up to 9 grams of sugar and the high up to 50 grams per day. Because the FODMAP diet reduced symptoms of IBS that is a common ailment among children and adolescents but poorly understood, the researchers recommend treating the GI disorder by limiting sugars in the diet. You can view a complete overview of food to eat and those to avoid at IBSdiets.org

Image credit: Pixabay

Updated 1/7/2017