Cutting lactose helps some with irritable bowel

September 11, 2001 in Gastrointestinal Health, Healthy Eating

Cutting lactose helps some with irritable bowel

A new study from the Netherlands suggests that some patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common type of intestinal disorder, may benefit from a lactose-free diet, new study findings suggest. In about 20% of patients, staying away from dairy improved symptoms markedly both in the short term and the long term.

Because the symptoms of lactose intolerance (caused by a sensitivity to a natural sugar found in dairy products) and irritable bowel syndrome (characterized by constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating) are very similar, the Dutch researchers tested for lactose intolerance in 70 patients with IBS. The investigators found that more than 20% of the IBS patients also had lactose intolerance.

Investigating further, the researchers placed all 70 patients on a lactose-free diet. After 6 weeks, all 17 lactose-intolerant patients--but none of the lactose-tolerant patients

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