Reasearch Awards nomination

Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Arthritis Research & Therapy and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Remarkable prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with irritable bowel syndrome plus fibromyalgia in comparison with those with isolated irritable bowel syndrome: a case-finding study

Luis Rodrigo1*, Ignacio Blanco2, Julio Bobes3 and Frederick J de Serres4

Author Affiliations

1 Gastroenterology, Central University Hospital of Asturias (HUCA), Celestino Villamil, s/n. ES-33006 Oviedo, Principality of Asturias, Spain

2 Biomedical Research Office of the Principality of Asturias, FICYT, c/Rosal 7–bis, ES-33009 Oviedo, Principality of Asturias, Spain

3 Medicine Department, Psychiatry Area, University of Oviedo, Julian Clavería 6, ES-33006 Oviedo, Principality of Asturias, Spain

4 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2233, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:R201  doi:10.1186/ar4391

Published: 27 November 2013

Abstract

Introduction

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are two common central sensitization disorders frequently associated in the same patient, and some of these patients with IBS plus FMS (IBS/FMS) could actually be undiagnosed of coeliac disease (CD). The present study was an active case finding for CD in two IBS cohorts, one constituted by IBS/FMS subjects and the other by people with isolated IBS.

Methods

A total of 104 patients (89.4% females) fulfilling the 1990 ACR criteria for FMS and the Rome III criteria for IBS classification and 125 unrelated age- and sex-matched IBS patients without FMS underwent the following studies: haematological, coagulation and biochemistry tests, serological and genetic markers for CD (i.e., tissue transglutaminase 2 (tTG-2) and major histocompatibility complex HLA-DQ2/HLA-DQ8), multiple gastric and duodenal biopsies, FMS tender points (TPs), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and Visual Analogue Scales (VASs) for tiredness and gastrointestinal complaints.

Results

As a whole, IBS/FMS patients scored much worse in quality of life and VAS scores than those with isolated IBS (P < 0.001). Seven subjects (6.7%) from the IBS/FMS group displayed HLA-DQ2/HLA-DQ8 positivity, high tTG-2 serum levels and duodenal villous atrophy, concordant with CD. Interestingly enough, these seven patients were started on a gluten-free diet (GFD), showing a remarkable improvement in their digestive and systemic symptoms on follow-up.

Conclusions

The findings of this screening indicate that a non-negligible percentage of IBS/FMS patients are CD patients, whose symptoms can improve and in whom long-term CD-related complications might possibly be prevented with a strict lifelong GFD.