Irritable bowel syndrome: The role of food in pathogenesis and management
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects approximately 10% to 20% of the general adult population in Europe and the Americas and is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of reliable biomarkers. The pathophysiology of IBS is poorly understood and is currently thought to represent a complex interplay among the gut microbiota, low-grade inflammation, impaired mucosal barrier function, visceral hypersensitivity, gut motility, and alterations in the gut-brain axis. In any individual patient, 1 or more of these factors may interact to generate symptoms. Although up to 50% of patients report postprandial exacerbation of symptoms, few studies have critically assessed the role of diet in IBS. Furthermore, although many patients with IBS adopt any one of a host of dietary changes in an attempt to alleviate their symptoms, there has been, up until recently little scientific basis for any dietary recommendation in IBS. This review discusses the contribution of diet to the pathophysiology and symptoms of IBS.