Today’s research on the connection between IBS and Atopic Dermatitis informs of future therapies
“Atopic” refers to allergies, while “dermatitis” refers to rashes. Atopic Dermatitis (AD) as a form of eczema is characterized partly by rashes and allergic reactions or sensitivities triggered by harsh detergents, dust mites, pollens, and other environmental allergens and irritants. So, why is a practice specializing in digestive disorders, like Atlantic Gastroenterology of Brooklyn, New York, talking about a skin condition?
Our Board-certified Gastroenterologist, Dr. Alexander Shapsis, enjoys staying on top of the latest research related to the GI disorders that he treats. An exciting and growing body of research has found a meaningful connection between the development of AD and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The more that we can understand about the connections between digestive and skin disorders, the greater the knowledge that we have about how IBS develops in the first place. And, the more that we know about IBS, the better the targeted options that arise to take on IBS symptoms and comorbidities that may manifest in the skin.
An analysis of recent research published in Practical Dermatology notes that AD is more common among individuals with IBS. In fact, those study subjects with IBS were reportedly 3.85 times more likely to develop this form of “allergic eczema” than their counterparts who do not have this common chronic GI disorder. Likewise, those subjects with AD symptoms were 3.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with IBS.
The studies highlighted by the publication implicate allergic processes in the development of IBS. In fact, studies found increases in the level of a particular antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE), directly correlate with increases in the frequency of IBS episodes. Furthermore, they cite a United Kingdom study of 30,000-plus medical records, which found those with atopic (allergic) conditions were considerably more likely to have IBS than those control subjects without it.
Research has also implicated certain immune cells, known as mast cells, in the development of IBS. Mast cells are involved with allergies because they release the histamine chemical into the bloodstream. This process results in sneezing, congestion, and other symptoms – including hives and itchy rashes. It’s reasoned that the hypersensitivity and hyperreactivity associated with mast cells trigger changes to the gut. The dermatologic publication characterizes this connection and process as an “allergic-mediated chemical cascade.”
The future of treatment
The more we can find out about these conditions, the better positioned we will be to manage both GI and skin disorders from a multi-disciplinary perspective with effective, targeted therapies. Both IBS and AD represent some of the world’s most common conditions. And many of our patients intimately know just how distressing and debilitating they can be. With all of this being said, the discoveries and innovations that emerge from the medical community’s collective research have considerable implications for our global community.
Already, antihistamines and nasal sprays designed to treat allergic diseases such as hay fever and asthma have been shown to decrease the severity and frequency of diarrhea and other digestive symptoms. As we find out more about the pathways responsible for these diseases, specialists like Dr. Shapsis will have greater options to draw from to ease or eliminate the GI problems that play such an important role in the quality of life.
Don’t wait to benefit from the latest gastroenterology treatments. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shapsis.
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