Irritable Bowel Syndrome is nothing to sneeze at. Especially during the sneezing season.
As a matter of fact, you are more prone to have irritable bowel if you have a seasonal allergy. The likelihood of IBS is 3 times higher in patients reporting atopic symptoms (2.67 times higher in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis and 3. 85 times higher in patients with allergic eczema, according to Tobin and his colleagues who administered questionnaires to 125 patients). So some of that abdominal pain may be part of allergic disease. Almost any other symptom of IBS may owe to it, too. See for example this case involving leaky gut and diarrhea or this case of bloating and constipation.It is May and grass pollen is adding to flowering trees in most of the US. Europe is experiencing high birch pollen counts with grasses ready to pop up. The Mediterranean region is dominated by the pollination of grasses and olive trees. Allergy season is over in Japan, Australia and South Africa but new pollen sources will be soon waking up.
Seasonal allergies are common. It is estimated that 15-20% of Americans suffer from seasonal and perennial allergies. Numbers of sufferers have been increasing over the years.
The best way to control allergies is to avoid the triggers - stay indoors, wash hands and take showers after coming in from outdoors. Of course, there are also drugs. But relief from allergies could come in more natural ways. For example, from probiotics.
A recent study showed that Lactobacillus paracasei, commonly found in our orifices (oral and rectal mucosa to be more precise) could help with grass allergies. This is not news - earlier research showed it was effective against diarrhea in infants and helped some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and seasonal allergies.
The research was sponsored by Nestle, one of several manufacturers already adding L. paracasei to their products. Their results, based on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, show that the ability of the nose to combat allergies significantly improves (NCT01150253). Where are these probiotics found? Lactobacillus bacteria are involved in dairy fermentation and are present in fermented milk products and cheeses. Irish Cheddar, hand-made Spanish cheeses, Ricotta, Italian hard cheeses and Mozzarella harbor many different strains of lactobacilli. Many of these products, however, are not tolerated well by the IBS population about half of which is lactose intolerant.
The good news is that probiotics are not only in dairy products. Lactobacillus paracasei LMGP22043 found in artichokes was recently shown to be carried into the human gut and challenge the bad guys there (E.coli and Clostridium). And even though European food safety authority believes that LMGP22043 does not relieve gastrointestinal discomfort, there were studies showing that artichokes do help those with alternating IBS. So enjoy your vegetables and lets do more research!
Valerio F, de Candia S, Lonigro SL, Russo F, Riezzo G, Orlando A, De Bellis P, Sisto A, & Lavermicocca P (2011). Role of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei LMGP22043 carried by artichokes in influencing faecal bacteria and biochemical parameters in human subjects. Journal of applied microbiology PMID: 21447019
Tobin MC, Moparty B, Farhadi A, DeMeo MT, Bansal PJ, Keshavarzian A. Atopic irritable bowel syndrome: a novel subgroup of irritable bowel syndrome with allergic manifestations.
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Jan;100(1):49-53.
Sarker SA, Sultana S, Fuchs GJ, Alam NH, Azim T, Brüssow H, Hammarström L. Lactobacillus paracasei strain ST11 has no effect on rotavirus but ameliorates the outcome of nonrotavirus diarrhea in children from Bangladesh. Pediatrics. 2005 Aug;116(2):e221-8.
Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Marakis G, Booth JC. Artichoke leaf extract reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and improves quality of life in otherwise healthy volunteers suffering from concomitant dyspepsia: a subset analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Aug;10(4):667-9.