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At Least 4.6% of People Diagnosed With Irritable Bowel Syndrome Have Undetected Celiac Disease

Lancet Nov 2001 Volume 358, Number 9292 1504-08 03

Celiac.com 11/14/2001 - A recent study published in The Lancet by Dr. David S Sanders et al. of the Gastroenterology and Liver Unit, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK, explored the number of people who were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome but actually had celiac disease.

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The case-control study was done at a university hospital in which 300 consecutive new irritable bowel syndrome patients who met the Rome II criteria for their diagnosis were compared against 300 healthy age and sex-matched controls. Both groups were investigated for celiac disease by analysis of their serum IgA antigliadin, IgG antigliadin, and endomysial antibodies (EMA). Patients and controls with positive antibody results were offered duodenal biopsy to confirm the possibility of celiac disease.

An amazing 66 patients with irritable bowel syndrome tested positive for the antibodies, and 14 of them or 4.6% had active celiac disease as compared with 2 or 0.66% of the non-IBS matched controls. In other words there is a sevenfold increase over the normal population in the number of people with IBS who have celiac disease. All of the patients with celiac disease in the IBS group were therefore misdiagnosed. The study did not indicate how many of the other 52 patients who had positive antibody results would eventually develop celiac disease, but this would be an interesting follow-up study. Celiac.com believes that the 4.6% with celiac disease will grow higher over time.

Conclusion: All patients with irritable bowel syndrome should be screened celiac disease.

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