Which dietary studies may be helpful in the evaluation of suspected irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jenifer K Lehrer, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Employ a lactose-free diet for 1 week in conjunction with lactase supplements. Improvement incriminates lactose intolerance, although the patient's clinical history and response to a trial may be unreliable. Therefore, some gastroenterologists recommend a formal hydrogen breath test. Fructose intolerance must also be considered.

Breath testing may also be used to evaluate for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, as formal jejunal aspiration is rarely performed anymore.

Other dietary intolerances include FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols), gluten, and fructose. Low FODMAP diets can be helpful in this situation, though may be found very restrictive.

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