Children diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are significantly more likely to have celiac disease as well, the results of a recent study suggest.
The prospective study, published online on April 21, 2014, in JAMA Pediatrics, assessed the prevalence of celiac disease among children with abdominal pain—related functional gastrointestinal disorders in a referral center in Italy. Patients were classified according to Rome III criteria as having IBS, functional dyspepsia, functional abdominal pain, or abdominal migraine.
Among the 992 children included in the study, 15 tested positive for celiac disease. Children with IBS were 4 times more likely to have celiac disease than children without IBS: 4.4% of children with IBS also had celiac disease.
The findings may be useful in selecting children who should be screened for celiac disease, the study authors suggest.
“Celiac screening should be addressed only in irritable bowel syndrome children rather than all the population with abdominal pain, since in those with abdominal pain not related to irritable bowel syndrome, the risk of having celiac disease is identical to the general pediatric population,” said lead researcher Ruggiero Francavilla, MD, PhD, in a press release.