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Dietary interventions for recurrent abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome in childhood





Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jan 21;(1):CD003019.


Dietary interventions for recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in childhood.


Huertas-Ceballos AA, Logan S, Bennett C, Macarthur C. Neonatal Unit, EGA Hospital, UCLH, Huntley Street, London, UK, WC1E 6DH.



BACKGROUND: Between 4% and 25% of school-age children complain of recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) of sufficient severity to interfere with daily activities. It is unclear whether the diagnosis includes children with different aetiologies for their pain. For the majority no organic cause for their pain can be found on physical examination or investigation. Although most children are likely managed by reassurance and simple measures, a large range of interventions have been recommended.


OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness of dietary interventions for recurrent abdominal pain in school-age children.


SEARCH STRATEGY: The Cochrane Library (CENTRAL) 2006 (Issue 4), MEDLINE (1966 to Dec 2006), EMBASE (1980 to Dec 2006), CINAHL (1982 to Dec 2007), ERIC (1966 to Dec 2006), PsycINFO (1872 to Dec 2006), LILACS (1982 to Dec 2006), SIGLE (1980 to March 2005), and JICST (1985 to 06/2000) were searched . Where appropriate, search filters were employed. Researchers working in this area were asked to identify relevant studies.


SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised or quasi-randomised studies of any dietary treatment versus placebo or no treatment in school-age children with a diagnosis of RAP or functional gastrointestinal disorder based on the Rome II criteria.


DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, assessed quality and extracted data. Where appropriate studies were pooled using a random effects meta-analysis.


MAIN RESULTS: Seven trials were included in this review. Two trials, including 83 participants, compared fibre supplements with placebo (Christensen 1982, Feldman 1985), with data from one study reported in two papers (Christensen 1982, Christensen 1986). The pooled odds ratio for improvement in the frequency of abdominal pain was 1.26 (0.25, 6.29). Two trials, including 90 participants (Lebenthal 1981, Dearlove 1983) compared lactose-containing with lactose-free diets. Neither reported data in a form which could be used in the meta-analysis and the former trial had a loss to follow-up of 45%. We were not able to obtain further data for either trial. Three trials (Bausserman 2005, Gavronska 2007, Young 1997) comparing supplementation with Lactobacillus with placebo met the inclusion criteria but only two (Bausserman 2005, Gavronska 2007), including a total of 168 children, provided analysable data. The pooled odds ratio for improvement of symptoms was 1.17 (95% CI 0.62, 2.21).


AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of high quality evidence on the effectiveness of dietary interventions. This review provides no evidence that fibre supplements, lactose free diets or lactobacillus supplementation are effective in the management of children with RAP.


PMID: 19160214 [PubMed - in process]










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