Celiac.com 02/25/2013 - Patients with celiac disease often report symptoms compatible with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, there haven't been any systematic studies regarding how adherence to a gluten-free diet might affect rates of irritable bowel syndrome-type symptoms in patients with celiac disease.
To better answer that question, a research team conducted a meta-analysis of celiac disease patients to determine rates of irritable bowel syndrome-type symptoms, and how those symptoms relate to a gluten-free diet.
For their analysis, the team searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and EMBASE Classic to identify cross-sectional surveys or case-control studies reporting prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in adult patients (≥16 years old) with established celiac disease.
The team used case or control status and adherence to a gluten-free diet to determine the number of individuals with IBS symptoms.
The team analyzed data from 7 studies with 3383 participants.
They then calculated pooled prevalence and odds ratios (ORs), with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
They found that pooled prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in all patients with celiac disease was 38.0% (95% CI, 27.0%-50.0%).
People with celiac disease had higher pooled odds ratios for IBS-type symptoms than did control subjects (5.60; 95% CI, 3.23-9.70).
In patients who did not follow a strict gluten-free diet, the pooled odds ratios for IBS-type symptoms, compared with those who were strictly adherent, was 2.69 (95% CI, 0.75-9.56).
Patients who did not adhere to the gluten-free diet had higher odds ratios for IBS-type symptoms compared with controls (12.42; 95% CI, 6.84-11.75).
Such patients also had higher odds ratios compared with that observed for celiac disease patients who followed a strict gluten-free diet or controls (4.28; 95% CI, 1.56-11.75).
The results show that patients with celiac disease suffer IBS-type symptoms more frequently than control subjects, and that following a strict gluten-free diet might help to reduce those symptoms.