Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Allergy Unit

Student research

Patient Reported Effects of Treatments
for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

A Retrospective Study.

Zillan Neiron
Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, The University of Sydney
Supervisors: Robert Loblay, Anne Swain, Wendy Stuart-Smith
November 2012

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Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate the current management practices used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), focusing on patient reported long term efficacies of trialled therapies.

Methods: An email with a link to an online questionnaire was sent to all patients with gastrointestinal symptoms who attended the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) Allergy Unit, between November 2000 and June 2012. Questions focused on therapies trialled by the patients and long term outcomes of these therapies. Responses were analysed using Excel and Stata.

Results: Data from 249 patients was analysed. Reported efficacy of treatments was varied. Eightyfive percent of patients reported diet modification, specifically in the form of eliminating specific chemicals, as the most effective treatment. Medication, especially gastric acid inhibitors, was also important. Common probiotics were not reported to provide long term benefit. Modified fibre diets showed mixed results, although data was incomplete. Reported challenges with specific chemicals caused patients a variety of gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms, of which salicylates provoked the greatest number of patients´┐Ż symptoms.

Conclusion: The reported efficacy of different treatments had a consistent theme, that diet modification provides the greatest gastrointestinal symptomatic relief. The Elimination Diet and Challenge protocol at RPAH has shown to be the most efficacious reported form of treatment.