Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Dietary Interventions

Werlang ME1, Palmer WC1, Lacy BE1. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2019 Jan;15(1):16-26.


Author information

Dr Werlang is a gastroenterology and hepatology fellow and Dr Palmer and Dr Lacy are senior associate consultants at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder, affecting approximately 14% of the global population. Symptoms of IBS are some of the most common reasons that primary care providers refer patients to gastroenterologists. IBS has a significant economic impact on the health care system and greatly reduces patients' quality of life. The precise cause of IBS remains unknown, but likely involves a variety of factors, such as infection, inflammation, medication, and stress, in a genetically predisposed individual. Physicians can diagnose patients with IBS by obtaining a careful history and physical examination, performing limited testing, and applying the Rome IV criteria. Treating IBS symptoms can be challenging, as no medication cures the disorder. Thus, treatment focuses on improving symptoms and quality of life. Many patients report that symptoms develop from, or are exacerbated by, food. A number of physiologic and biochemical processes can occur with food ingestion that may produce heightened symptoms of IBS. Therefore, dietary interventions to improve IBS symptoms appear to be a reasonable treatment approach. This article discusses the evidence supporting dietary interventions for the treatment of IBS

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