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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome Don't Usually Have Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A new study suggests that celiac disease is uncommon in people with irritable bowel syndrome, so there's no need for routine celiac testing in IBS patients.


    Caption: Bloated. Image: CC--stephen boisevert

    Celiac.com 03/12/2019 - Some doctors routinely conduct celiac testing in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients, but it is not currently accepted practice.  A team of researchers recently set out to compare the rates of undiagnosed celiac disease in a large group of patients both with and without IBS.

    The research team included AE Almazar, NJ Talley, JJ Larson, EJ Atkinson, JA Murray, and YA Saito. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Medicine, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,  the Department of Health, Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, and the Department of Immunology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and with the Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.

    The team performed their family case-control IBS study at a single US academic medical center. They accessed serum and DNA, and conducted tissue transglutaminase (TTg) immunoglobulin A, followed by indirect immunofluorescence testing for endomysial antibodies with positive or weakly positive TTg results. 

    The team defined patients with celiac disease only when both results were positive. They used χ and Fisher's exact tests to compare celiac rates between the two groups. The team looked at serum samples for 533 cases and 531 control subjects. Eighty percent of study subjects were women, with a median age of 50 years. A total of 65% of cases and none of the control subjects met the Rome criteria for IBS. 

    Overall, the team found no difference in rates of celiac disease between patients with IBS and patients without IBS. Based on these results, the researchers see no need for universal celiac serologic or genetic testing in patients with IBS. Stay tuned for more information on IBS and other issues related to celiac disease.

    Read more at: Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Feb;30(2):149-154. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001022.


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    This concerns me. As I was diagnosed as IBS by symptoms only (no testing) for over 20 plus years. I am a DH  celiac who had GI issues My entire life and numerous waxing waning celiac symptoms through out life. In the end the Dr confirmed no gluten for me ( misdiagnosed IBS decades ) and there was no signs to indicate/confirm IBS.

    I have concerns for misdiagnosed Celiac's out there that maybe  currently labeled IBS. I was missed too many times upon reflection it's riduculous. 

    Best wishes to everyone so that my story is hopefully rare.

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    Guest ThisIsKate

    Posted

    On 3/17/2019 at 2:13 PM, Awol cast iron stomach said:

    This concerns me. As I was diagnosed as IBS by symptoms only (no testing) for over 20 plus years. I am a DH  celiac who had GI issues My entire life and numerous waxing waning celiac symptoms through out life. In the end the Dr confirmed no gluten for me ( misdiagnosed IBS decades ) and there was no signs to indicate/confirm IBS.

    I have concerns for misdiagnosed Celiac's out there that maybe  currently labeled IBS. I was missed too many times upon reflection it's riduculous. 

    Best wishes to everyone so that my story is hopefully rare.

    This concerns me too.   In 2007, my 1st gastro specialist didn't even to bother ordering bloodwork, went straight to colonoscopy. When it came back clean, he said IBS.  He also said, well, it could be celiac, but you're overweight, so nope, we're not even gonna test you for it.  I had so many of the symptoms it's not even funny.  Fast forward to 2011, my symptoms had gotten worse, and surprise, bloodwork for celiac came back very positive.  Endoscopy confirmed it.  And going gluten free saved me.  I know I'm not alone in this type of experience.  Not enough people are tested for celiac disease.  I had symptoms starting in adolescence that got pretty bad in my 20's, and still didn't get diagnosed until I was 33, despite reporting my issues to various doctors for many years.  I just hope the awareness of this disease continues to spread.

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    I agree. There are so many people I've heard that got misdiagnosed with IBS when it was really Celiac (including myself), that I feel like articles and studies like this make it even less likely that the mistake will be found. Maybe someone who ACTUALLY has IBS is less likely to have Celiac, but what about all the people who doctors write off as IBS that aren't? I think Celiac screening should be a go-to for people who manifest with persistent digestive issues (especially if that person has two other auto-immune diseases - duh!) I was told IBS for years, and after a conversation with a co-worker who had Celiac, I did some research and essentially diagnosed myself. I had to insist on the testing, like the earlier poster, I was overweight so the Dr thought it was impossible. There is so much misunderstanding out there; this is just going to feed the resistance to keep looking for a cause.

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    8 hours ago, Guest ThisIsKate said:

    This concerns me too.   In 2007, my 1st gastro specialist didn't even to bother ordering bloodwork, went straight to colonoscopy. When it came back clean, he said IBS.  He also said, well, it could be celiac, but you're overweight, so nope, we're not even gonna test you for it.  I had so many of the symptoms it's not even funny.  Fast forward to 2011, my symptoms had gotten worse, and surprise, bloodwork for celiac came back very positive.  Endoscopy confirmed it.  And going gluten free saved me.  I know I'm not alone in this type of experience.  Not enough people are tested for celiac disease.  I had symptoms starting in adolescence that got pretty bad in my 20's, and still didn't get diagnosed until I was 33, despite reporting my issues to various doctors for many years.  I just hope the awareness of this disease continues to spread.

    Yes,  very concerning indeed. I had had a colonoscopy even after I was diagnosed IBS symptoms only for over a decade. No endoscopy until 2016. By then my cousin was diagnosed a gold standard celiac she also was also sick with GI issues for decades. 

    So while not every IBS is celiac in my opinion quite a few celiac's are currently or have been misdiagnosed IBS in past. We are hitting middle-age and finally some Dr's are saying wait your diagnosed IBS on  symptoms  only? You didn't get both scopes ?  Those are the ones showing us celiac is not the rare rigid disease, but a more complex diagnosis often misdiagnosis. To those Dr's thanks .

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    In 2004 I was in College and missed classes for two weeks because I was had so much stomach pain, and I could not be away from a restroom.  I had to drop a few classes because I could not make up the work.  On spring break I drove home chugging Imodium and stopping at every gas station in my 1 1/2 journey home.  My mother scheduled doctors appointments for me and they said I had ... IBS.  2016 I had the same with no energy to do anything but sleep.  Finally diagnosed with Celiac.  But I had to change doctors and force them to test for Celiac even though my Uncle has it. Why because I am a big woman and that is not what celiac usually looks like.  I was malnourished.  I feel better now, but so many years waisted. 

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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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