Is pollen‐food syndrome a frequent comorbidity in adults with irritable bowel syndrome?

Document Type

Letter to the Editor


Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to 10% of UK adults, 50% of whom may also have seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) and thus an increased risk of developing pollen‐food syndrome (PFS) if sensitized to birch tree pollen.1-3 In an exploratory prospective controlled cohort study, we compared the prevalence of PFS in IBS subjects from a secondary care clinic diagnosed using the Rome IV criteria,4 with that of an age and gender‐matched control group with another chronic health condition (congenital heart disease). The control group were chosen as they had a chronic health condition and a younger age demographic which matched the IBS group. The study received ethical and HRA approval (REC 17/NW0577, IRAS Reference: 229644), and all subjects gave written informed consent to take part. Both groups self‐completed a validated PFS diagnostic questionnaire.3 The IBS case group alone also self‐completed a food and symptom questionnaire, validated IBS and SAR questionnaires (Appendix S1), underwent skin prick testing (SPT) to aeroallergens, food reagents and fresh foods (ALK Abelló) (Appendix S1) and had a 10‐mL blood sample collected and analysed for ImmunoCAP 112 ISAC (Thermo Fisher Scientific).