Food allergy as a cause of constipation and diarrheic IBS

Two research reports on the subject of food allergy as a factor in digestive conditions

Food allergy as a cause of constipation in the first three years of life – 06/11

Constipation effects up to 15% of the child population and is a common cause of visits to the doctor. A study carried out by the 2nd Department of Pediatrics and Allergology of the Polish Mother’s Memorial Hospital in Lodz, Poland has looked at the role allergy plays in the incidence of constipation in the first three years of children’s lives.

A retrospective analysis was performed in 9489 children in the years 1998-2008, among whom was a group of children with constipation according to the Rome III Criteria. Medical history, the course of the disease and a physical examination guided differential diagnosis, and food allergy was confirmed with food challenges.

Chronic constipation was confirmed in 136 children, and the most frequent cause was allergy to cow’s milk.  All the children’s symptoms improved after a diet eliminating the consumption of cow’s milk was introduced, and the incidence of food allergy as a cause of constipation decreased with the age of the children.

Source: PubMed


A combination of allergic factors can worsen diarrheic irritable bowel syndrome – 09/11

A study has been carried out to determine whether the influence of an allergic background has any bearing on irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Thirty-four IBS patients and 15 healthy subjects were assessed; paracellular permeability and mucosal mast cell (MC) counts were taken, as well as colonic biopsies. The severity of IBS was taken from self-report questionnaires. All the participants were assessed for allergic factors (AF), including self-perception of adverse reaction to food, personal and familial atopy, elevated total or specific IgE levels for food or inhalant allergens, blood eosinophilia and also skin tests. The results showed that IBS patients had enhanced colonic permeability mucosal MC counts and spontaneous release of tryptase than healthy subjects. In a third of the IBS patients having at least three AF, symptom severity was significantly higher than in those with three or fewer AFs. IBS patients with at least three AFs were more prone to diarrhoea and alternating symptoms.

In conclusion, in IBS patients, the presence of an allergic background correlates with more severe symptoms.

Source: The American Journal of Gastroenterology

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First Published in June 2011

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