A Danish population-based cohort study identified a significant association between patients who have rosacea and their risk of having certain other gastrointestinal diseases – specifically, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
“While a co-occurrence of rosacea and gastrointestinal disorders has previously been evaluated, the topic remains controversial,” wrote the authors, led by Alexander Egeberg, MD, of the department of dermatology and allergy, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark (Br J Dermatol. 2016 Aug 8. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14930).
Dr. Egeberg and his coinvestigators conducted a nationwide cohort study of adults aged 18 years and older from national administrative registers, starting on Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2012. In total, 49,475 rosacea patients were included, with 4,312,213 individuals from the general population who were used as controls. The outcomes were any occurrences of celiac disease (CeD), Crohn’s disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Helicobactor pylori (HP) infection, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth that occurred during the study period, conditions that were chosen “due to their potential mechanistic and pathogenic overlap with rosacea,” they wrote.
At baseline, the prevalence of CeD, CD, UC, HP infection, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and IBS was significantly higher among the patients with rosacea, compared with the controls.
Adjusted hazard ratios showed a significant association between patients with rosacea and one of the following GI diagnoses: CeD (Hazard ratio, 1.46), CD (HR, 1.45), UC (HR, 1.19), and IBS (HR, 1.34). However, no significant association was found between rosacea and HP infection or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
“The findings from this study raise an important question about the pathogenic overlap between the studied gastrointestinal disorders and rosacea,” Dr. Egeberg and his coauthors wrote. Most of the outcomes examined in the study, they noted, “carry several autoimmune characteristics and, although speculative, it is possible that shared autoimmune susceptibility may provide a link between rosacea and the examined gastrointestinal disorders.”
No funding was received for this study. Dr. Egeberg and his coauthors reported no relevant financial disclosures.