New study finds an increase rate of celiac disease in children who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome

New study finds an increase rate of celiac disease in children who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A recent article published in Jama Pediatrics, highlighted the importance of having children with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) tested for celiacs. The study found that children with IBS have a much higher prevalence of celiac disease then the normal population. This was an important finding as, “recurrent abdominal pain is a prevalent health issue in childhood.... Studies of adults have shown an increased prevalence of celiac disease among patients with irritable bowel syndrome” but there was little known “with regard to children”. From this study, we now know that the link of IBS to celiacs disease is true in children as well as adults.
The Celiac Disease Foundation  says, “celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.” Celiac disease is becoming more well known with ongoing research worldwide, but with over 300 symptoms is is difficult to detect and often misunderstood and untreated. The disease can cause lifelong consequences and much discomfort, so it is best to detect celiacs as soon as possible.
The six-year prospective study was conducted in southern Italy.  The 992 children involved in the study were referred to the clinic for recurrent abdominal pain by their primary care physicians. They were classified as having IBS, functional dyspepsia, functional abdominal pain, or abdominal migraine. The study found that of the 992 evaluated, “270 were classified as having IBS, 201 as having functional dyspepsia, and 311 as having functional abdominal pain, and 210 children were excluded from the study.”
Of the remaining 782 children, 15 tested positive for celiac disease.  The numbers broke down as follows: “12 of 270 patients with IBS [4.4%], 2 of 201 patients with functional dyspepsia [1%], and 1 of 311 patients with functional abdominal pain [0.3%]”). This means that children with IBS are 4 times more likely to have celiac disease than the general pediatric population. The study concluded that abdominal pain related functional gastrointestinal disorders “might help to select children who deserve screening for celiac disease.”  
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