Irritable bowel syndrome and lactose maldigestion in recurrent abdominal pain in childhood.


Gremse DA, Nguyenduc GH, Sacks AI




South Med J


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose maldigestion in children with recurrent abdominal pain. METHODS: Children who had abdominal pain associated with defecation or change in bowel habit, disordered defecation, and distension were diagnosed with IBS, and lactose maldigestion was defined by lactose breath hydrogen testing. Children with IBS were managed with increased fiber intake, while those with lactose maldigestion restricted dietary lactose. A telephone survey was conducted to determine the response to treatment. RESULTS: The mean age of the 59 boys and 87 girls was 9.5 +/- 3.0 years. Children with IBS and lactose maldigestion had more frequent abdominal pain than children without these conditions, but they required less medication for relief of symptoms. CONCLUSIONS. Lactose maldigestion may be a contributory factor in children with IBS, and lactose avoidance in these patients may reduce medication use to relieve symptoms.