When is a very-low-residue diet or liquid diet indicated in the treatment of constipation and how effective are they?

Updated: Mar 30, 2020
  • Author: Marc D Basson, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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In selected patients who comply with a trial of a high-fiber, high-water diet but find that this approach does not successfully treat their constipation, a trial of a very-low-residue diet, or even a liquid diet, may be appropriate.

Such a regimen is most successful in patients with an outlet obstruction who are not candidates for surgical correction and in patients whose presentation is more characteristic of IBS with a chief complaint of abdominal pain. A low-residue diet may be effective in the latter group of patients if thorough mechanical cleansing of the bowel, such as is done for diagnostic endoscopy or barium enema, temporarily relieves their symptoms.

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