Depression can Give you Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Image by KLEITON Santos from Pixabay

Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental health concerns which hit every person at some point in their lives. According to a new study, depression patients are on the verge of digestive issues and disturbed bowel movement even before they are diagnosed with any. The research teams from the St George’s University of London, collaborated with various other institutes to understand how depression shows up in the patients of inflammatory bowel diseases or IBD. They evaluated the records of fifteen thousand individuals who were either diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These two conditions are collectively referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

They were surprised to see that IBD patients were most likely to be depressed and were diagnosed with depression before being diagnosed with IBD.  Irritable bowel disease or IBD can cause abdominal pain, irregular bowel movement, rectal bleeding, constipation, diarrhea, and others. Some people live with these symptoms for years without even realizing that they have a digestive condition. This study mainly targeted how depressive people are more likely to get Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) later.

Those who were experiencing digestive distress before diagnosed with depression were 40% more likely to develop IBD as compared to others who don’t develop depression.  People with depression without any gastrointestinal signs had the lowest chance of getting IBD.

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These results don’t mean that all IBD patients have depression. It just implies that depression is a risk factor for developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in later years, only if they are experiencing some digestive distress before. This relation between these two conditions is still not fully clear. It looks like some people develop depression because of a stomach condition which makes them stressed. Any person who is stressed about some of the digestive symptoms shouldn’t ignore it and see a doctor as soon as possible because, at this point, it is easily treatable.

The main thing which this study gives is for GP’s urging them to follow a holistic approach when people discuss their symptoms like stress, diarrhea, pain, or rectal bleeding. All these conditions could be connected and end up with inflammatory bowel syndrome. However, in the early stages, it is completely treatable and manageable.

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All this requires more care and attention during the on-going coronavirus pandemic because the anxiety levels are rising and detecting depression and risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is really tricky through telemedicine. Also, it is possible for a clinician to relate this stress with the pandemic if the patient isn’t explaining himself well.

Many of the Crohn’s disease patients or ulcerative colitis patients live undiagnosed all their lives. But during this pandemic period, it is necessary to do everything to diagnose these digestive conditions reducing their health risks.

The complete findings of this study are published in the journal Gut.

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