Prevalence of adverse reactions to food in patients with gastrointestinal disease

Allergy. 1996 Nov;51(11):811-8.


The role of allergic reactions in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome has been disputed. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of adverse reactions to food in patients with gastrointestinal disease. A total of 375 adult patients of a gastroenterologic outpatient clinic were examined by history, skin tests, measurements of laboratory parameters, and intestinal provocation with food allergens by colonoscopy. Some 32% complained of adverse reactions to food as a cause of their abdominal symptoms. In 14.4%, the diagnosis of intestinal food allergy could be suspected according to several criteria such as elevated total IgE, specific IgE against food antigens, eosinophilia, responsiveness to cromoglycate, and clinical signs of atopic disease. In 3.2%, the diagnosis could be confirmed by endoscopic allergen provocation and/or elimination diet and rechallenge. In conclusion, the data suggest that allergic reactions to food antigens may be a causative factor in a subgroup of patients with inflammatory and functional gastrointestinal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Proteins / analysis
  • Colonoscopy
  • Cromolyn Sodium / therapeutic use
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Eosinophil-Derived Neurotoxin
  • Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diet therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / complications*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diet therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Histamine / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Ribonucleases*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Tests


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Blood Proteins
  • Eosinophil Granule Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Histamine
  • Eosinophil-Derived Neurotoxin
  • Ribonucleases
  • Cromolyn Sodium