Allergic Disease Linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • A high incidence of reported irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in people with allergies led to a study whose results were recently published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).


    Here are the highlights of the study conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago:

    • 125 adult patients were included in the study
    • Those with nasal allergies were 2.67 times as likely to have IBS
    • Those with eczema (skin allergies) were 3.85 times as likely to have IBS
    • Those with depression were 2.56 times as likely to have IBS

    IBS affects about 15% of the general population. IBS is a digestive disorder that causes symptoms of chronic abdominal pain and major problems with bowel functioning, such as diarrhea and constipation. There was a strong correlation between allergic dermatitis, also known as eczema, and IBS in this study.

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    There is also a known link between allergic eczema and gastrointestinal dysfunction in early childhood that adds weight to this finding.  So, experts are now pondering whether there might be an immune system connection with IBS.


    Obviously, this was a very small study and more research will be needed before experts draw any definite conclusions. Still, it's interesting to note the relationship between allergic disease and IBS. I, for one, am not too thrilled to learn though that my allergies might someday progress to problems in yet another area of my body!

Published On: January 30, 2008