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Author Notes:

Send all correspondence to: Dr M.A.L. van Tilburg, University of North Carolina, Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, 130 Mason Farm Rd, CB7080, Chapel Hill NC 27599-7080, phone: +1 919 843 0688, tilburg@med.unc.edu

Author Contributions: Dr. Reed-Knight was responsible for interpretation of the data and drafting of the manuscript.

Dr van Tilburg was primarily responsible for conception of the work and design of the study, analysis, and interpretation of data, as well as drafting of the manuscript.

Megan Squires was responsible for data acquisition and helped in data analysis and drafting of the manuscript.

Dr Chitkara was responsible for obtaining funding, conception of the work, and contributed to interpretation of the data and drafting of the manuscript.

All authors gave final approval of the manuscript.

The authors have no conflict of interest related to the current work.


Research Funding:

This work was partly supported by an unrestricted grant from Glaxo Institute of Digestive Health and NORC grant number NIH DK56350.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Gastroenterology & Hepatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurosciences
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • diet
  • eating disorder
  • fiber
  • food avoidance
  • fructose
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • lactose
  • nutrition
  • pain
  • LIFE
  • IBS

Adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome report increased eating-associated symptoms, changes in dietary composition, and altered eating behaviors: a pilot comparison study to healthy adolescents


Journal Title:

Neurogastroenterology and Motility


Volume 28, Number 12


, Pages 1915-1920

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background: About half of adult irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients report symptoms with eating and disordered eating habits. However, little is known about eating in adolescent IBS patients, a common age at which eating disorders develop. The aim of the study was to investigate if adolescents with IBS are more likely than healthy controls (HCs) to experience eating-associated symptoms (EAS), report disordered eating patterns, and show differences in diet composition. Methods: A total of 99 adolescents between 15 and 21 years-of-age participated (n = 48 IBS; n = 51 HCs). All subjects completed three 24-h dietary recalls and questionnaires on EAS and disordered eating. Key Results: IBS patients were more likely to report EASs than HC (91.7% vs 28%, p < 0.001). Eating-associated symptoms were controlled by avoiding the offending food (97.7%), not eating any food even when hungry (43.2%), or vomiting after eating (13.6%). Compared to HC, IBS patients reported reduced daily intake of overall calories (1828 vs 2139; p < 0.05), fat (65.4 g vs 81.4 g, p < 0.05), and lactose (8.2 g vs 12.8 g, p < 0.01). No differences were found between IBS and HC in screening for disordered eating patterns or BMI, though IBS patients endorsed using potentially unhealthy eating behaviors in an attempt to control symptoms. Conclusions & Inferences: Eating-associated symptoms are very common in adolescents with IBS and associated with changes in eating behaviors and dietary composition. They do not appear to change BMI and risk for eating disorders. More research is needed to guide adolescents with IBS in making appropriate dietary changes to control EASs.

Copyright information:

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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