Women with Crohn’s Disease Have Higher Risk of Mental Illness Post-pregnancy, Study Suggests

Women with Crohn’s Disease Have Higher Risk of Mental Illness Post-pregnancy, Study Suggests
Women with Crohn’s disease are at a higher risk for mood disorders (depression and anxiety) and substance abuse issues after giving birth than those without inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Canadian researchers report. Their study, “Inflammatory bowel disease and new-onset psychiatric disorders in pregnancy and post partum: a population-based cohort study,” was published in the journal Gut. IBD is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract. There are two main types: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The risk of developing mental illness is increased in patients with IBD. Mental well-being in women during and after pregnancy is vital; immune-related disorders are associated with an increased risk for psychiatric disorders during these periods of time. "Because of the elevated risk of mental illness in people with IBD, we felt it was important to study if women with IBD were at greater risk of developing a new mental illness during pregnancy and after giving birth compared to the overall population,” Eric Benchimol, MD, PhD, senior author of the study, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the CHEO Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre and associate professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, said in a press release. Researchers analyzed the healthcare data of 3,721 women with IBD and compared it with 798,908 without IBD who gave birth between 2002 and 2014 in Ontario, Canada. They reviewed the period between conception and one year after birth to assess the mental health of the women during this period. The study found that 22.7% of women with IBD were diagnosed with a new mental illness compared with 20.4% of women without IBD. The risk was significantly elevated for depression and anxiety (
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