Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) & Allergy

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common disease that affects 5-10% of the general population. Individuals are generally diagnosed with IBS after a number of tests – for ulcers, reflux, and structural issues – come back negative. At that point, sometimes an allergist is added to the equation, and then the relationship between IBS and allergy is recognized and can then be treated.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to allergy comes in two forms:

  1. Environmental allergies can certainly cause IBS symptoms. When pollen is breathed in, it can move to the bowel and cause irritation in the digestive tract. Having IBS issues due to environmental allergies is often simple to uncover because the symptoms will be worse during certain times of the year.
  2. Food sensitivity can also cause IBS, because as the food may create symptoms like a rash on the outside of the body, it can cause irritation on the inside too. A way to uncover this connection is to look for additional intestinal symptoms on top of those typically felt due to IBS, such as headache and fatigue.

Studies show that 20-65% of IBS patients attribute their symptoms to an adverse food reaction, and those who experience atopic allergy symptoms are more than three times more likely to have IBS.

IBS can significantly alter ones life due to the lack of effective treatment options, and many people report missing school, work or family functions because of their symptoms. In fact, studies show that those who suffer from IBS miss on average 13.4 days of work each year.

There is a solution. As a way to increase the quality of life for those who have IBS due to allergy, sublingual immunotherapy may be used to help reduce or eliminate reactions. Once allergy testing is complete and allergies determined, treatment begins and works towards building allergic tolerance.

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