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Gastroenterol Nurs. 1994 Jun;16(6):253-8.

Comparison of diet composition in women with and without functional bowel disorder.


Nurses are often involved in helping patients alleviate chronic distressing gastrointestinal symptoms such as those associated with irritable bowel syndrome or functional bowel disorder. One therapeutic strategy is to increase dietary fiber intake and to eliminate gastrointestinal (GI) irritants such as caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco smoking. However, little work has been done to establish a relationship between dietary factors and chronic GI symptoms. In this article, the authors: (a) describe and compare caloric and dietary constituent intake in symptomatic (n = 18) and asymptomatic (n = 37) women, and (b) examine the relationships among diet, GI symptoms, and stool characteristics in the two groups. In particular, total calories, fiber, fat, protein, and carbohydrates as well as alcohol and caffeine intakes were compared in women who do not smoke. Because menstrual cycle phase modulates both symptoms and appetite, women were studied during the follicular phase. Groups had similar caloric, fat, and protein intakes. Fiber intakes were similar and similar to national norms in both groups. When compared with asymptomatic women, the symptomatic women consumed more refined carbohydrates. Relationships were observed among dietary intake of refined carbohydrates, fiber, GI symptoms, and stool characteristics in women with functional bowel disorder.

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