Patients with celiac disease often report symptoms compatible with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
However, the prevalence of these symptoms in patients with celiac disease and their relation to adherence to a gluten-free diet have not been assessed systematically.
Dr Anita Sainsbury and colleagues from the United Kingdom searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and EMBASE Classic to identify cross-sectional surveys or case-control studies reporting prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in adult patients with established celiac disease.
The number of individuals with symptoms meeting criteria for IBS was extracted for each study, according to case or control status and adherence to a gluten-free diet.
The research team analyzed data from 7 studies with 3383 participants.
The pooled prevalence of IBS-type symptoms in all patients with celiac disease was 38%.
The researchers found that the pooled odds ratio for IBS-type symptoms was higher in patients with celiac disease than in controls.
In patients who were nonadherent with a gluten-free diet, the pooled odds ratio for IBS-type symptoms, compared with those who were strictly adherent, was 2.7.
The team observed a trend toward a higher odss ratio for IBS-type symptoms among patients who did not adhere to the gluten-free diet.
Dr Sainsbury's team concluded, "IBS-type symptoms occur frequently in patients with celiac disease and are more common than among controls."
"Adherence to a gluten-free diet might be associated with a reduction in symptoms."