Conference Coverage

Low-FODMAP diet improves fecal incontinence in patients with loose stool



– A low fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet was associated with improvement in fecal incontinence in 64.6% of patients who received dietary training, according to recent research presented at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting.

Dr. Stacy Menees, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Jeff Craven/MDedge News

Dr. Stacy Menees

“In this case series, the low-FODMAP diet improved fecal incontinence in two-thirds of patients with fecal incontinence and loose stools,” Stacy Menees, MD, MS, assistant professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in her presentation.

Dr. Menees and her colleagues performed a retrospective chart review of 65 patients in the Michigan Bowel Control clinic with fecal incontinence (FI) “without alarming features” who were recommended a low FODMAP diet and received formal dietary teaching between August 2012 and December 2017. Patients received the teaching from a Michigan Medicine gastrointestinal dietitian. The dietitians performed a semi-quantitative analysis of patient response, including complete response, Dr. Menees said.

If we are going to help people with fecal incontinence, the key is to concentrate on the area of their stool consistency,” she explained. “We know that foods high in fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols, otherwise known as FODMAPS, can cause diarrhea and urgency.”

These FODMAP foods can include fruits with fructose exceeding glucose, fructan-containing vegetables, wheat-based products, sorbitol- and lactose-containing foods, and raffinose-containing foods, Dr. Menees said.

“We know from observations in data and research from the Monash University and our own group that patients with irritable bowel syndrome who are on a [low-]FODMAP diet [get relief from] their symptoms,” she added.

Most of the patients were female, and most were white. The mean age was 61.9 years, and mean body mass index was 26.7 kg/m2. Among the patients, 27.7% had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 9.2% had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), 16.9% had diabetes mellitus, and 20% had a prior cholecystectomy.

With regard to reports of loose stool and FI, 46.1% of patients said they had loose stool daily with a mean of 2.8 loose bowel movements daily. More than half of the patients (60.5%) reported FI daily; 37.8% said they experienced weekly FI, and 4.6% reported monthly FI. The number of patients reporting FI was higher than 100% because some patients reported in the chart that they had FI daily or weekly, Dr. Menees said.

FI improvement was reported by 64.6% of patients, with 88.1% of responders having a greater than 50% reduction in FI and 35.7% of patients experiencing complete resolution of FI. There were no serious adverse events in the study, Dr. Menees noted.

“The three patients with postinfection IBS and fecal incontinence had no response to a low-FODMAP diet,” she said. “Our dietitians noted that onion and garlic were the triggers that were most often identified.”

Limitations include the retrospective chart review design and small number of patients, which may overestimate or underestimate the study results, and the fact that the study was done at a tertiary care center, Dr. Menees said.

“We are nearing the completion of a confirmatory, prospective, pilot randomized clinical trial to confirm the efficacy of a low-FODMAP diet in patients who suffer from fecal incontinence and loose stools,” she concluded.

Dr. Menees reports being a consultant for Synergy.

SOURCE: Menees SB et al. ACG 2018. Presentation 9.

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