Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) management has been widely discussed in the research literature, including mention of environmental, lifestyle, and behavioral factors. Top researchers from the Harvard Medical School, the University of Chicago Medical Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and other leading medical centers worldwide conjoined to reach a consensus on the management of these factors.
The research consensus, “Lifestyle, behaviour, and environmental modification for the management of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases: an International Organization for Study of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases consensus,” was published in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology in April 2022.
The consensus discussed the avoidance of cigarette smoking in patients with IBD and promoted physical activity as able and tolerated to help manage IBD symptoms, whether ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The consensus recommended assessing each patient with IBD for nutrient deficiencies and obesity and adopting evidence-based diet interventions to reduce the inflammation when it comes to nutrition. Normal body weight is encouraged, characterized as a body mass index (BMI) measuring 18.5–24.9 kg/m2.
It is essential to address mental and emotional health among the recommendations for improving the physical health of patients with IBD. The literature supports screening for anxiety and depression upon the diagnosis of IBD and during flare-ups. Additionally, they recommend referring the individual to a mental health professional, such as a licensed clinical therapist or psychologist, as appropriate, based on the screening results.
This holistic approach to IBD management is best suited for encouraging the highest possible quality of life and state of well-being for patients with IBD.
Ananthakrishnan, A. N., Kaplan, G. G., Bernstein, C. N., Burke, K. E., Lochhead, P. J., Sasson, A. N., Agrawal, M., Tiong, J., Steinberg, J., Kruis, W., Steinwurz, F., Ahuja, V., Ng, S. C., Rubin, D. T., Colombel, J. F., Gearry, R., & International Organization for Study of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (2022). Lifestyle, behaviour, and environmental modification for the management of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases: an International Organization for Study of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases consensus. The lancet. Gastroenterology & hepatology, S2468-1253(22)00021-8. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00021-8