Fructose intolerance/malabsorption common in children with recurrent or abdominal pain

Paediatric gastroenterologists with the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center in Tacoma, WA investigated a total of 245 children from 2 to 18 years old (62% of them girls and with a median age of 11) with unexplained chronic abdominal pain or pain with constipation, gas or bloating and/or diarrhea.

Breath hydrogen test for fructose was performed in all the children in the study and it was positive in 132 of the 245 (53.9 percent). (If breath hydrogen exceeds 20 points above baseline, then the patient is likely fructose intolerant.)

All of the of these children had a consultation with a dietician and were placed on a low-fructose diet. Using a standard pain scale for children, 88 of the 132 patients (67.7%) reported greatly reduced symptoms on a low-fructose diet – although with the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener in ready made foods, it can be quite hard for a child to keep to a low fructose diet.

Courtesy of the American College of Gastroenterology

First published in November 2010

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