Risk Factors for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Turkish Population: Role of Food Allergy

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The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of food hypersensitivity in Turkish patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


The IBS is a chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by abdominal pain, distension, meteorism and either diarrhea or constipation. The role of diet in the pathogenesis of IBS remains controversial. Many investigators have shown that individual foods can trigger symptoms in some patients; nevertheless, the percentage of patients that benefit from dietary manipulation ranges from 15% to 67% in different reports.


Skin prick test to 11 common allergens, total IgE, eosinophilic cationic protein and eosinophil counts were evaluated in 100 patients satisfying the Rome II criteria and compared with 25 healthy controls. The history and physical examination of the groups were recorded and Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories were performed.


One hundred patients were entered into the study with a mean age of 45.63±12.91 years. Of the patients 53 had constipation predominant, 19 had diarrhea predominant, and 28 had alternating type IBS. Skin prick tests positivity were more common among the IBS patients in comparison with controls (25% and 1%, respectively, P<0.05). Mean IgE values were higher in patients than controls (70.83±66.05 and 15.20±14.01 IU/mL, respectively, P<0.000). Eosinophilic cationic protein values were also higher in IBS patients than controls (16.75±11.28 and 11.56±4.72, respectively, P<0.05) Evaluation of Beck Depression Inventory showed that tendency to depression in patients with IBS was 38% and 4% in controls (P<0.05).


According to our results, in patients complaining of IBS it is of importance to search for a food component. Clinical improvements can be observed after the introduction of an adequate exclusion diet.

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