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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 Apr;58(4):498-501. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000232.

Fructose intolerance/malabsorption and recurrent abdominal pain in children.

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*Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center †MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation, Tacoma, WA.



The purpose of the present study was to ascertain whether pediatric patients with chronic abdominal pain had concurrent fructose intolerance as determined by a standardized dose breath hydrogen test (BHT), and whether symptoms would improve with a low-fructose diet.


The fructose BHT test was administered to patients evaluated in clinic with unexplained chronic abdominal pain alone or associated with constipation, gas or bloating, and/or diarrhea. The patients were given a standard dose of 1 g/kg fructose to maximum of 25 g. Hydrogen and methane were measured at 8 time points. The test was presumed positive if breath hydrogen exceeded 20 ppm above baseline. If positive, patients were given a dietitian-prescribed low-fructose diet.


A total of 222 patients were part of the study. Ages ranged from 2 to 19 years with a mean of 10.5. BHT for fructose was performed in all of the patients and it was positive for fructose intolerance in 121 of 222 patients (54.5%). A total of 101 of 222 (45.5%) patients had negative BHT for fructose intolerance. All BHT-positive patients had a nutrition consult with a registered dietitian and were placed on a low-fructose diet. Using a standard pain scale for children, 93 of 121 patients (76.9%) reported resolution of symptoms on a low-fructose diet (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, 55 of 101 patients (54.4%) with negative BHT for fructose reported resolution of symptoms without a low-fructose diet (P = 0.37).


Fructose intolerance/malabsorption is common in children with recurrent/functional abdominal pain and a low-fructose diet is an effective treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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