What is the role of fiber supplements in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019
  • Author: Mohammad F El-Baba, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

A high-fiber diet or supplement is useful in patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Several studies have demonstrated that fiber enhances water-retentive properties of stool, increases stool weight, and accelerates colonic transit.

In general, dietary fibers are less soluble and more effective as bulking agents, whereas synthetic fibers are more soluble and increase water retention.

The recommended daily intake of fiber (in grams) for children is estimated by adding 5 to their age in years.

A study in adult patients with irritable bowel syndrome revealed that a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharide, and polyols (FODMAP) is effective in reducing functional GI symptoms. Studies of the efficacy of low FODMAP diet in treating children with irritable bowel syndrome are lacking. [27]


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