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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2018 June;64(2):117-23

DOI: 10.23736/S1121-421X.17.02329-7

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Sorbitol malabsorption in patients with abdominal discomfort

Birgit KLEE 1, Oliver BARSKE 1, Andrea MACK 1, Christoph K. THOERINGER 1, Bernhard HALLER 2, Valentin BECKER 1 , Simon NENNSTIEL 1

1 Second Medical Polyclinic, Rechts der Isar Hospital, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany; 2 Institute of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, Rechts der Isar Hospital, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany



BACKGROUND: The role of sorbitol malabsorption in patients with functional abdominal discomfort has not been finally clarified yet. Therefore, aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical significance of sorbitol malabsorption, diagnosed by sorbitol hydrogen breath testing in these patients.
METHODS: Data of all patients referred to our hospital for hydrogen breath testing between May 1st, 2013 and December 31st, 2014 were retrospectively collected and analyzed. Patients with confirmed sorbitol malabsorption completed a symptom-based questionnaire before and after nutritional counseling.
RESULTS: Five hundred and ten patients with functional abdominal discomfort (65.5% female, 34.5% male; mean age 45±16.4 years) were referred to our hospital for hydrogen breath testing. H2-sorbitol breath tests were performed in 252 of these patients. In 122 of them (48%), sorbitol-malabsorption was diagnosed. In 66 of these patients (54%), the results of the symptom-based questionnaire showed a significant improvement of the frequency of abdominal discomfort (P<0.001) and of the influence of these symptoms on daily life (P<0.001) after sorbitol testing/nutritional counseling.
CONCLUSIONS: Sorbitol malabsorption is a common finding in patients with functional abdominal discomfort. Dietary intervention positively affects abdominal symptoms in these patients.


KEY WORDS: Carbohydrate malabsorption - Sorbitol - Hydrogen breath testing - Abdominal discomfort - Nutritional counseling

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