Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease report fatigue as one of their most common concerns. Tiredness, lack of energy, or exhaustion that persists after rest or sleep are all signs of fatigue. Nearly 80% of IBD patients with active disease and 50% of IBD patients in clinical remission suffer from it. Conditions such as anemia, poor sleep, arthritis, nutritional deficiencies, medication side effects, or inflammation can cause fatigue in IBD patients.
According to research published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a systematic review reported a high prevalence of fatigue in patients with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Adrijana D’Silva and the team carried out the experiment successfully to throw light on an underrated symptom of IBD.
Available Data On IBD And Fatigue
IBD is a chronic gastrointestinal condition marked by inflammation and ulceration of the GI tract. There are two main disorders in this group namely UC (ulcerative colitis) and CD (Crohn’s disease). During periods of active bowel inflammation, patients frequently complain of fatigue. IBD affects both the gastrointestinal system and the extraintestinal system. Fatigue is still a problem for more than 40% of patients with IBD, even when they are in remission. In remission, the disease is not active anymore. Due to your immune system working properly, inflammation stops causing painful damage to your bowel and colon.
Although fatigue is a common symptom of IBD, it was never well researched or understood by scientists. There was no prevalent data available for the symptoms. However, this study was ready to examine the prevalence of fatigue in IBD outpatients. The team of scientists defined possible determinants of fatigue using meta-analysis.
Observation And Analysis
D’Silva and colleagues studied 20 cross-sectional studies with sample sizes ranging from 77 to 5,296 participants. The participants’ mean age ranged from 43-54 years. They designed the experiment to learn how fatigue affects patients with IBD globally and its risk factors.
300 consecutive outpatients participated in the study over a 3-month period. Their results provide a reliable reflection of fatigue in IBD outpatients. Since they recruited a high percentage of IBD patients, 74% of the patients responded to the questionnaire. It allowed them to draw a final conclusion.
UC and CD both had an equal prevalence of fatigue in D’Silva’s study.
It is unknown what causes fatigue in IBD, but it is highly likely multifactorial. For this, the team looked for possible determinants of fatigue in their IBD population. According to other studies, fatigue adversely affects the daily lives of 40% of IBD patients in remission. While patients with chronic diseases and cancer, or patients with inflammation and anemia can affect fatigue.
It is common for many diseases to cause fatigue. According to this systematic review and meta-analysis, fatigue is common among adults with inflammatory bowel disease, even though there is considerable heterogeneity between studies. It is essential to conduct research for a better understanding of the risk factors of fatigue. Moreover, the focus should shift toward addressing risks that may reduce the fatigue burden. Developing targeted interventions aimed at managing fatigue should be a priority for patients with IBD in a clinical setting.
Burba, K. (n.d.). Researchers report high prevalence of fatigue in IBD patients. Healio. Retrieved April 25, 2022, from https://www.healio.com/news/gastroenterology/20220421/researchers-report-high-prevalence-of-fatigue-in-ibd-patients