J Neurogastroenterol Motil.  2018 Apr;24(2):307-316. 10.5056/jnm17044.

Prevalence of Fructose Malabsorption in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome After Excluding Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. sjmyung@amc.seoul.kr
  • 2Department of Clinical Nutrition, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Fructose malabsorption (FM) mimics symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and its prevalence has increased. Diagnosing FM in IBS is challenging because of its overlap with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). We assessed the prevalence of FM by comparing patients with IBS with asymptomatic control individuals after excluding SIBO using the glucose hydrogen breath test (HBT).
Patients diagnosed with IBS and asymptomatic control individuals were enrolled prospectively. Dietary habits were assessed with the Food Frequency Questionnaire. After excluding SIBO, participants underwent HBTs with both 15 g and 25 g of fructose.
Thirty-five patients with IBS and 35 age- and sex-matched asymptomatic control individuals were enrolled. The 15-g fructose HBT yielded positive results in 7 of the 35 (20.0%) patients with IBS and in 2 of 35 (5.7%) controls (P = 0.070). The 25-g fructose HBT was positive in 16 of the 35 (45.7%) patients with IBS and in 8 of the 35 (22.9%) controls (P = 0.040). Analysis of the Food Frequency Questionnaire responses showed no significant differences between the 2 groups in dietary intake, although patients with IBS showed a significantly higher mean fiber intake than controls (21.24 ± 11.35 g vs 15.87 ± 7.07 g, respectively, P = 0.040).
The 25-g fructose HBT identified FM in a significantly higher percentage of SIBO-negative patients with IBS than in asymptomatic control individuals, suggesting that FM may correlate with IBS. Education regarding dietary control of foods containing fructose may be useful for the management of patients with IBS.


Breath tests; Dietary therapy; Fructose; Irritable bowel syndrome
Full Text Links
  • JNM
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2021 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr