In a new study, researchers found that depression is more common among people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis in the years before they are diagnosed.
The research was conducted by a team from St George’s University of London, Imperial College London, University College London, and King’s College London.
In the study, the team checked the records of fifteen thousand people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases or IBD.
They found patients were more likely to be diagnosed with depression up to nine years before the diagnosis of their IBD, compared with people who did not go on to be diagnosed with IBD.
IBD can result in abdominal pain, diarrhea, or rectal bleeding and many people live with these gastrointestinal symptoms for years before being diagnosed.
This study examined the link between depression and the chance of later developing IBD.
People who reported gut symptoms before developing depression were 40% more likely to develop IBD compared with people without depression.
However, individuals with depression but no prior gastrointestinal symptoms were no more likely to be diagnosed with IBD than individuals without depression.
The study suggests that, on its own, depression is not a risk factor for developing IBD, however, people with depression and previous gut symptoms may be more likely to develop either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
It is likely some people develop depression as a consequence of gut symptoms they experience before being diagnosed with IBD.
They suggest that If people are experiencing depression with abdominal pain, diarrhea or rectal bleeding see their doctors and get tested because there may be a treatable cause.
One author of the study is Dr. Jonathan Blackwell.
The study is published in Gut.
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