Crohn’s disease linked to a higher prevalence of depression

Patients who go on to be diagnosed with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis were reportedly at a higher likelihood of having experienced depression beforehand, new research has found.

A research team from Imperial College London, and a few other British academic institutions, evaluated the medical records of thousands of patients with both conditions, commonly characterized as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

The evaluation of records dated as far back as 1998 and spanned until 2016. The onset of depression was measured as far back as five years before their initial diagnosis of IBD.

“Depression is a potential risk factor for developing IBD. This association may be related to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms occurring before diagnosis,” researchers explained in their newest publication released in Gut.

“We aimed to determine whether depression, adjusted for pre-existing GI symptoms, is associated with subsequent IBD.”

The British-based research team unveiled that patients are at a higher likelihood of diagnosis for depression, several years before their diagnosis of IBD.

“Depression, in the absence of prior GI symptoms, is not associated with subsequent development of IBD. However, depression with GI symptoms should prompt investigation for IBD,” researchers pointed out in their findings.

“It is possible people become depressed while living with undiagnosed gut symptoms of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Now, more than ever, during the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital to put strategies in place to ensure timely diagnosis of these bowel conditions to protect people’s physical and mental health,” said co-author Richard Pollok in a news release of the study.

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