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Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine. Symptoms of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. Symptoms can vary for each individual and can sometimes be controlled with managing diet, lifestyle and stress. In order for IBS to be diagnosed, symptoms must be ongoing and have been present at least three days a month in the last three months. IBS does not cause changes in bowel tissue or increase the risk for developing colorectal cancer. The causes of IBS are not exactly known, however it is believed that the intestinal muscle contractions may be stronger and longer-lasting than normal.

What is the Connection between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac Disease?

  • The symptoms of celiac disease are often confused with the symptoms of IBS, which makes diagnosing celiac disease that much more difficult
  • Between 5 and 15% of those diagnosed with celiac disease were originally diagnosed with IBS, suggesting that celiac disease testing in this population is very important
  • The prevalence of celiac disease in people who also have IBS is 4 times greater than in the general population
  • People with celiac disease who continue to experience gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those of IBS after adopting the gluten-free diet may benefit from the low-FODMAPs diet. You can learn more about this topic here.

Where Can I Learn More?

Do you or a family member suffer from irritable bowel syndrome? You may have celiac disease. Find out now. Take our Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.

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