Gluten-Free Diet May Ease IBS Symptoms

A diet free of gluten could improve symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

In the study, patients who were assigned to a gluten-free diet had improvement in symptoms within 12 weeks.

“In addition to the gluten-free diet, patients who avoided foods that caused flatulence experienced faster improvement in their symptoms,” according to Eskandar Jajiani, of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Science, Iran, and colleagues. “Therefore, it is very important for these patients to use gluten-free diet and avoid foods that cause flatulence (legumes, onions, celery, carrots, raisins, bananas, apricots, buds, etc.)”

The study included 140 patients with IBS referred to a hospital in Iran in 2006. Patients were randomly divided and assigned to either a gluten-free diet or a regular diet for 12 weeks. Questionnaires including information on demographics and symptoms were completed at baseline and after 4 weeks.

Patients in the control group had significantly higher baseline levels of abdominal pain, loose stool, and urgent need for excretion.

After the 12-week period, patients assigned to the regular diet had a significant decrease in the symptoms of abdominal pain, bowel gas, decreased bowel movements, increased fecal consistency, urgent need for excretion, and insufficient defecation (P<.05). Gluten-free diet was associated with decreased abdominal pain, bloating, fecal consistency, increased need for excretion, and incomplete defecation (P<.01).

Based on these results, the researchers suggested “that these methods be included in the care programs of patients with irritable bowel syndrome so that patients can benefit from many advantages.”

Hajiani E, Masjedizadeh A, Shayesteh AA, et al. J Family Med Prim Care. 2019;doi:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_464_18.