Jeanne Tung, M.D., discusses a recently published article in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition about the prevalence of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The researchers from Manitoba, Canada were interested in seeing if more children were developing IBD over time. In Manitoba, all children with IBD are seen at the children's hospital in Winnipeg. Adult and pediatric gastroenterologists created an IBD database of Manitoba residents and looked at records from 1978 - 2000. The researchers identified 397 children diagnosed with IBD over 30 years. The average age of diagnosis was 13, 1/5 were diagnosed before they were 10, and the youngest patient was 2 years old.
All together in Manitoba, approximately 6.3 children out of 100,000 were diagnosed with IBD each year. The proportion of patients diagnosed with Chron's disease compared to ulcerative colitis shifted from about 70% in the 1980s to 58% in the 1990s and 2000s. Throughout the 30 years of the study, people diagnosed with IBD were more likely to live in an urban setting compared to a rural setting.
Why does IBD seem to be increasing? There have been several studies focusing on environmental changes over time. Researchers have seen that as more countries become more Westernized, IBD increased. There hasn't been an identification about what in lifestyle or environmental changes is the exact cause.
In the general population, patients should avoid overusing antibiotics and try to eat a healthier diet, but this won't prevent IBD or change what happens when you have IBD.
Read the full study online here.
For more information on IBD, visit mayoclinic.org/IBD.
Dr. Tung is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic.