Introduction The low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols) diet is a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrate are rapidly fermented but poorly absorbed in the small intestine leading to functional gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in sensitive individuals. Evidence suggests that a reduction in high FODMAP foods leads to an improvement in GI symptoms.1 The aim of this audit was to determine whether the low FODMAP diet was effective in improving symptoms within the first 4–12 weeks of following the diet.
Methods All patients commenced on the low FODMAP diet between July 2010 and June 2011 were included (n=40). Of these 19 patients did not attend their first review and therefore their data were incomplete and they were excluded from the analysis. Patients were asked to score their symptoms subjectively using a symptom severity scale between 0 and 10 (0= no symptoms/absent; 10= severe symptom affecting daily life) at their initial assessment and at subsequent follow-up appointments. Paired sample t-tests were used to compare the difference in symptom scores between the initial appointment and first review. Data were included and results obtained for all patients followed up within 3 months where a score was provided.
Results A statistically significant reduction was seen for bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea only.
Conclusion Functional GI symptoms are common and often have a significant impact on a person's quality of life.1 2 These results show that symptoms improved significantly on the low FODMAP diet which is supported by previous studies.1 The data presented only measures the response to a low FODMAP diet over a 4–12 week period so we are unable to determine if the improvements seen were maintained in the longer term, where issues such as compliance may have a significant impact. We need to continue to collect data so that we can measure the benefits at 6 and 12 months and investigate compliance over this longer period. In conclusion the low FODMAP diet was shown to be effective in the management and overall improvement of functional GI symptoms, however further evaluation is needed to determine the long term management and effectiveness of this diet.
Competing interests None declared.
References 1. Gibson P, Shepherd S. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2009;25:252–8.
2. Barrett J, Gearry R, et al. Dietary poorly absorbed, short chain cabohydrates increase delivery of water and fermentable substrates to the proximal colon. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010;31:874–82.