Is fiber supplementation beneficial in the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jenifer K Lehrer, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Fiber supplementation may improve symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. Individualize the treatment because a few patients experience exacerbated bloating and distention with high-fiber diets. Polycarbophil compounds (eg, Citrucel, FiberCon) may produce less flatulence than psyllium compounds (eg, Metamucil).

The data regarding the effectiveness of fiber are controversial because 40%-70% of patients improve with placebo. A Cochrane systematic review found no benefit of fiber/bulking agents on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms or global assessment. [33]


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