While 5-10% of the population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), few know the actual cause. Most people are diagnosed after testing negative for ulcers, reflux, and structural issues. After enough suffering and aching from the various symptoms, an allergist may be added to the equation, and then the relationship between IBS and allergy is recognized.
Studies have linked allergy and IBS, showing that that 20-65% of IBS patients attribute their symptoms to an adverse food reaction. Those people who have related allergic disease like allergic rhinitis, asthma and/or eczema are 3.2x more likely to have IBS.
IBS due to allergy can come in two forms:
- Food sensitivity can cause IBS. As foods may create symptoms, like a rash, on the outside of the body, they can cause irritation on the inside too. If a patient feels symptoms on top of those typically associated with IBS, it’s likely related to food sensitivity. For example, moodiness, headache, or tiredness can all be signals.
- Environmental allergies can certainly cause IBS symptoms as well. When symptoms worsen during certain times of the year, environmental allergies are often to blame. That’s because when pollen is inhaled, it can move to the bowel and irritate the digestive tract.
Because of the unexpected onset of symptoms and nature of IBS, it can cause considerable illness among sufferers. The lack of effective medicine to tame symptoms can cause patients to miss school, work or family functions; in fact, studies show that those who suffer from IBS miss, on average, 13.4 days of work each year.
Can allergy drops help IBS?
Patients can complete allergy testing in order to determine whether allergens are an IBS trigger. If so, sublingual immunotherapy can help build allergic tolerance, and hopefully lead to an increased quality of life and fewer moments missed.