Evidence Against Routine Testing of Patients With Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders for Celiac Disease: A Population-based Study

Rok Seon Choung, Alberto Rubio-Tapia, Brian D. Lahr, Robert A. Kyle, Michael J. Camilleri, G. Richard Locke, Nicholas J. Talley, Joseph A. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Celiac disease has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-like symptoms in outpatient clinics. Guidelines recommend that all patients with IBS-like symptoms undergo serologic testing for celiac disease, but there is controversy over whether celiac disease is more prevalent in populations with IBS-like symptoms. We aimed to determine whether positive results from serologic tests for celiac disease are associated with IBS and other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in a large U.S. white population. Methods: Validated, self-report bowel disease questionnaires (BDQs) were sent to randomly selected cohorts of Olmsted County, Minnesota residents. In separate protocols, serum samples were collected from more than 47,000 Olmsted County residents without a prior diagnosis of celiac disease; we performed serologic tests for celiac disease on stored serum samples from residents who completed the BDQ. Logistic regression was used to test for the association between serologic markers of celiac disease (positive vs negative) and individual FGIDs. Results: A total of 3202 subjects completed the BDQ and had serum available for testing. IBS was identified in 13.6% of these subjects (95% confidence interval [CI], 12.4%-14.8%), and any gastrointestinal symptom occurred in 55.2% (95% CI, 53.5%-56.9%). The prevalence of celiac disease on the basis of serologic markers was 1.0% (95% CI, 0.7%-1.4%). IBS was less prevalent in patients with celiac disease (3%) than patients without celiac disease (14%), although the difference was not statistically significant (odds ratio, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.03-1.5). Abdominal pain, constipation, weight loss, and dyspepsia were the most frequent symptom groups in subjects who were seropositive for celiac disease, but none of the gastrointestinal symptoms or disorders were significantly associated with celiac disease serology. Conclusions: Symptoms indicative of FGIDs and seropositive celiac disease are relatively common in a U.S. white community. Testing for celiac disease in patients with IBS in the community may not have a significantly increased yield over population-based screening in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1937-1943
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Celiac Disease
  • Community Study
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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