Clinical audit of the effects of low-fibre diet on irritable bowel syndrome
High-fibre diets are frequently advocated for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) although there is little scientific evidence to support this. Experience of patients on low-fibre diets suggests that this may be an effective treatment for IBS, warranting investigation.Methods
Symptoms were recorded for 204 IBS patients presenting in the gastroenterology clinic. They were then advised on a low-fibre diet with bulking agents as appropriate. Symptoms were reassessed by postal questionnaire 4 weeks later. Patients who had improved on the diet were advised on the gradual reintroduction of different types of fibre to determine the quantity and type of fibre tolerated by the individual.Results
Seventy-four per cent of questionnaires were returned. A significant improvement (60–100% improvement in overall well-being) was recorded by 49% of patients.Conclusion
This preliminary study suggests that low-fibre diets may be an effective treatment for some IBS patients and justifies further investigation as a full clinical trial.