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Lifestyle interventions confer benefits for GI symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome

15 Nov 2017

Both hatha yoga and a low-FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides and Polyol) diet can alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as improve a range of other psychological and physiological health parameters, in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a study has shown.

A total of 59 IBS patients were randomized to a 12-week lifestyle intervention involving either yoga or a low-FODMAP diet. Patients in the yoga group received two sessions weekly, while those in the low-FODMAP group attended a total of three sessions of nutritional counselling.

Change in gastrointestinal symptoms (IBS-SSS) was assessed as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included changes in quality of life, health, perceived stress, body awareness, body responsiveness and safety of the interventions. Evaluations were performed at weeks 12 and 24 by assessors “blinded” to patients’ group allocation.

IBS-SSS score did not significantly differ between the two intervention groups at either 12 (Δ, 31.80; 95 percent CI, −11.90 to 75.50; p=0.151) or 24 weeks (Δ, 33.41; −4.21 to 71.04; p=0.081), but within group comparisons revealed statistically significant effects for yoga and low-FODMAP diet at both time points (p<0.001 for all).

Effects for the other outcomes were comparable between the yoga and low-FODMAP diet groups. Serious and nonserious adverse events each occurred in one patient in both intervention groups.

Researchers pointed out that both interventions offer promising, safe treatments for patients with IBS. However, more research is needed to evaluate the long-term effects, cost-effectiveness and efficacy of hatha yoga and a low-FODMAP diet in comparison with other treatment modalities.

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