What is the relationship between gluten intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019
  • Author: Jenifer K Lehrer, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Gluten intolerance has been associated with irritable bowel syndrome. In a small but important study, patients with irritable bowel syndrome who were well-controlled on a gluten-free diet were rechallenged in a double-blind fashion. [34] Approximately two thirds of these patients had poor symptom control with rechallenge. As with many irritable bowel syndrome studies, the placebo response was high (40%). Notably, neither intestinal inflammation nor permeability was different among the groups, and no difference in the positivity rate for celiac disease–related HLA haplotypes or antibody markers was noted. Volta et al evaluated the current evidence and suggest that patients with gluten/wheat sensitivity may be a subset of those with irritable bowel syndrome. [35]


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