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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Disease Patients Have Higher Rates of Irritable Bowel-like Symptoms

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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.

    Photo: CC--mag3737To 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.

    The research team included A. Sainsbury, D.S. Sanders, and A.C. Ford, of the Leeds Gastroenterology Institute at St James's University Hospital in Leeds, United Kingdom.

    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.

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    Before diagnosis, I was told I had IBS. I was afraid to leave the house due to uncontrolled diarrhea. However, even after having celiac disease confirmed first with blood work and then with a genetics test, and going completely gluten-free, it persisted. Only after finally starting a probiotic, Align, did it finally get back under control.

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    I was diagnosed with IBS years ago and had to take Bentyl to stop the attacks. NO ONE suggested that I might be gluten intolerant.

     

    On my own research, I learned about gluten intolerance. I decided to go gluten-free for 3 weeks to see if I had any positive results. Here were my results:

     

    IBS disappeared

    Arthritis pain lessened

    Some relief of fatigue, tho, with thyroid disease and lupus and fibromyalgia, there is a long way to go.

     

    After going back on gluten products for only 3 days, arthritis pain increased to full-blown

    IBS symptoms returned, back to Bentyl

     

    Gluten intolerance is REAL. A gluten-free diet eliminated IBS completely... though, now I sometimes have constipation... which is easier to deal with and less painful.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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