What dietary factors can influence symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome? Here, Dr Andrew Taylor outlines his advice for dietary assessment and modification.
- Irritable bowel syndrome is a heterogeneous condition. Patients have varying combinations of abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
- Identical symptoms can occur with organic diseases such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease and lactose intolerance.
- A high fibre diet is beneficial for many patients with irritable bowel syndrome. However, it is not consistently effective for pain, bloating or diarrhoea, and may even worsen these symptoms.