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Kids with IBS Face Four Times the Risk for Celiac Disease — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 23, 2014

Kids with IBS Face Four Times the Risk for Celiac Disease

By Amy Orciari Herman

Children who meet clinical criteria for irritable bowel syndrome are four times as likely to have celiac disease as the general population, according to a JAMA Pediatrics article.

Researchers studied nearly 800 Italian children aged 4 to 16 years who were referred for recurrent abdominal pain over a 6-year period. Of these, 35% met Rome III criteria for IBS, 26% for functional dyspepsia, and 40% for functional abdominal pain. Roughly 4% with IBS were diagnosed with celiac disease (based on antibody screening and confirmatory endoscopy) — significantly higher than the 1% previously reported in the general pediatric population. Under 1% of children in the other two groups were diagnosed with celiac disease.

The authors write: "This finding reinforces the utility of the Rome III criteria in classifying children with chronic abdominal pain in order to select those who deserve to be screened for celiac disease, to increase the case finding strategy, and to contain health costs." Editorialists stress the importance of "selective" screening, given the potentially high false-positive rate.

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