Dietary Interventions and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Review of the Evidence

  • Shawn L. Shah
  • Brian E. Lacy
Large Intestine (BD Cash, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Large Intestine


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the best studied of the functional gastrointestinal disorders. It is a highly prevalent disorder characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, and disordered bowel habits, which may include constipation, diarrhea, or both. IBS has a significant negative impact on patients, both financially and with regard to their quality-of-life. At present, there is no cure for IBS, and while there are a number of pharmacological therapies available to treat IBS symptoms, they are not uniformly effective. For this reason, many patients and providers are turning to dietary interventions in an attempt to ameliorate IBS symptoms. At first glance, this approach appears reasonable as dietary interventions are generally safe and side effects, including potential adverse reactions with medications, are rare. However, although dietary interventions for IBS are frequently recommended, there is a paucity of data to support their use. The goals of this article are to answer key questions about diets currently recommended for the treatment of IBS, using the best available data from the literature.


Irritable bowel syndrome Dietary interventions Exclusion diets Fiber FODMAP Fermentable oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides Polyols 



Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols


Irritable bowel syndrome


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

SLS and BEL declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterLebanonUSA

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