Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Physician-Dietitian Collaboration

Nutr Clin Pract. 2020 Aug 12. doi: 10.1002/ncp.10567. Online ahead of print.

Carol Ireton-Jones 1, Michael F Weisberg 2


Author information

  • 1Good Nutrition for Good Living, Carrollton, Texas, USA.
  • 2Gastroenterologist in Private Practice, Plano, Texas, USA.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10%-15% of adults in the United States and 12% of the worldwide population. Gastroenterologists as well as primary care practitioners are likely to be the first resource for patients with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. IBS is difficult to diagnose, as it is a functional GI disorder, determined after ruling out a myriad of other diagnoses. The 2016 Rome IV criteria define IBS as "a functional bowel disorder in which recurrent abdominal pain is associated with defecation or a change in bowel habits. Disordered bowel habits are typically present (ie, constipation, diarrhea, or a mix of constipation and diarrhea), as are symptoms of abdominal bloating/distension occurring over at least 6 months and not less than 3 months." Treatment of IBS historically has been through medical management; however, nutrition management of IBS using the FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) elimination diet is now a recommended, first-line therapy. FODMAPs are short-chain, poorly absorbed carbohydrates that are associated with symptoms in people with IBS. This diet intervention can be quite challenging, and therefore, patients should meet with a qualified dietitian who can provide the complex diet information in a practicable form. Physician-dietitian collaboration is invaluable for IBS patients to achieve a successful outcome.

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