(HealthDay News) – Patch testing may identify allergies to food or food additives that may be responsible for the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Michael B. Stierstorfer, MD, from East Penn Dermatology in North Wales, PA, and colleagues performed skin patch testing to common allergenic foods and food additives on 51 individuals with a history of or symptoms suggestive of IBS to examine whether these allergens were responsible for the symptoms of IBS and whether guided avoidance could alleviate these symptoms.

The researchers found that 30 of the 51 study participants showed at least one doubtful or positive patch test result. Symptomatic improvement, ranging from slight to great was reported by 14 participants upon avoidance of the foods/food additives to which they reacted.

“In this proof-of-concept case series, we provide evidence that food-related type-4 hypersensitivity should be considered in the pathogenesis of IBS and chronic undifferentiated IBS-like symptoms,” the authors write. “If our observations are supported by further study, food/food additive patch testing may provide a valuable addition to the evaluation and treatment of patients with symptoms of IBS.”

One author disclosed having filed a patent application for food and food additives skin patch testing for IBS and undifferentiated gastrointestinal disease.

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