Chances are, if your child has irritable bowel syndrome, then he or she has celiac disease. Italian studies published in the April 21st edition of JAMA Pediatrics show the two maladies to be linked, more often than not.

The United States National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reports that celiac disease afflicts over 2 million people in the US. Often the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease coincide. Sufferers usually feel bloated, experience cramping or gas, and deal with diarrhea and constipation.

Celiac disease, a harmful response to gluten, can cause malnutrition, intestinal damage, and nutrient depletion. Lead researcher, Dr.  Ruggiero Francavilla and his team tested over 780 children reporting stomach trouble for celiac disease. Of the children tested, 15 had the condition. 12 of those children had irritable bowel syndrome as well.

Considering their lopsided findings, Francavilla believes that children with irritable bowel syndrome should also be considered high risk for celiac and checked accordingly.

The research may be of help to physicians attempting to determine causes of pediatric stomach trouble.  At the very least, it may narrow down the pool of people who require celiac disease testing, and avoid the potential for false positives and unnecessary endoscopy.

While the study did find a significant correlation between the two diseases, it did not go so far as to prove irritable bowel syndrome as the cause of celiac disease. Further research will need to examine clear cause and effect.

The lack of clear proof causes other experts to test more liberally, not wanting to overlook celiac disease in some children, simply because a large number of them have irritable bowel syndrome as well. Dr. William Muinos, co-director of the division of gastroenterology at Miami Children’s Hospital, believes that children presenting with chronic abdominal pain and bowel dysfunction should be considered for celiac testing to be safe.

Read the full article here: Bowel Illnesses Sometimes Coincide in Kids – WebMD