Study Reveals Link Between Allergies and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
if you have certain types of allergies, you are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than people without allergies, according to a study conducted at Rush University Medical Center and published in the scientific journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
IBS is a cluster of symptoms that includes abdominal pain for 12 weeks within the past year and a change in stool consistency or frequency. It affects 15 percent of the general population and is one of the most common reasons people see a gastroenterologist.
In the study, Mary Tobin, MD, an allergist at Rush, and her colleagues found the likelihood of IBS was more than two times higher in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis and more than three times higher for those with allergic eczema. Both of these allergies are atopic disorders, meaning they cause a tendency to develop immediate allergic reactions to substances such as pollen, food, dander and insect venoms.
Previous studies have suggested that exposure to allergens may lead to IBS symptoms in some people, but the Rush study was the first to look specifically at the prevalence of IBS in people with atopic disorders.
“If doctors can identify that a patient with IBS has a history of seasonal allergies or allergic eczema, some of that abdominal pain may be part of the patient’s allergic disease,” Tobin says. “They would be able to unlock another piece of the treatment puzzle.”
Care for Digestive Disorders
The gastroenterology and nutrition program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the Midwest.
Staffed by some of the nation’s top specialists, the gastroenterology team at Rush offers specialized treatment and follow-up care for adults with a wide array of digestive and gastric disorders, including Barrett’s esophagus, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.
For more information about gatroenterological care at Rush visit our Gastroenterology and Nutrition home page.
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