Effects of dietary guidance on the symptoms, quality of life and habitual dietary intake of patients with irritable bowel syndrome
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Diet is important in triggering the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This study investigated the impact of dietary guidance on the symptoms, quality of life and habitual diet of patients with IBS. Forty‑six patients who fulfilled the Rome III criteria for the diagnosis of IBS were included. Of these patients, 17 completed the entire study. Each patient attended three sessions (~45 min in duration) and received individual guidance on their dietary management. The patients were asked to complete the following questionnaires prior to receiving the dietary guidance, and at least 3 months subsequently: The Birmingham IBS symptom score questionnaire, the IBS Quality of Life (IBS‑QOL) questionnaire, the Short‑Form Nepean and Dyspepsia Index (SF‑NDI) and the MoBa Food Frequency Questionnaire (MoBa FFQ). The time at which patients completed the questionnaires following dietary guidance ranged from 3‑9 months (median, 4 months). The total IBS symptom scores were reduced once the patients had received dietary guidance (P=0.001). The total score for the quality of life, as assessed by the IBS‑QOL and the SF‑NDI, increased significantly following the dietary guidance sessions (P=0.003 and P=0.002, respectively). There were no statistical differences in the intake of calories, carbohydrate, fiber, protein, fat or alcohol in the patients with IBS following dietary guidance. There were increases in the consumption of dairy products, β‑carotene, retinol equivalents, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and calcium, although only the increase in vitamin B12 consumption was statistically significant. There was a significant reduction in the consumption of certain fruits and vegetables that were rich in highly fermentable short‑chain carbohydrates, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, as well as insoluble fibers. In conclusion, three 45-min dietary guidance sessions, administered by a nurse, reduced the symptoms and improved the quality of life of patients with IBS, and resulted in an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Individual dietary guidance is a cost‑effective option for the management of IBS.