Epidemiology of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Nepal Mukesh S. Paudel, Ajit Khanal, Barun Shrestha, Bibek Purbey, Bidhan N. Paudel, Gaurav Shrestha, Jiwan Thapa, Khus R. Dewan, Ram Gurung, Neeraj Joshi.
Introduction Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) comprise ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). These are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract without a clear etiology but have strong relationships with underlying factors like genetic susceptibility, environmental factors, and intestinal bacteria. In the east, inflammatory bowel diseases predominantly affect the younger population and have an almost equal gender distribution. With urbanization and the adoption of the western lifestyle, the incidence and prevalence of IBD are increasing in Asia. In this study, we describe the epidemiology of IBD in Nepal. Methods This was an observational study conducted in nine endoscopy centers within Nepal. Two years of data of colonoscopies in these centers were collected retrospectively. IBD was diagnosed by endoscopic examination. The incidence of IBD was calculated as the number of patients with IBD per 1000 colonoscopies per year. The demographic profiles of the patients were also collected. Results A total of 7526 colonoscopies were done in nine centers within the two years study period. IBD was seen in 479 patients (6.3%). The incidence of UC was 23.7 per 1000 colonoscopies per year and the incidence of CD was 1.6 per 1000 colonoscopies per year. UC (87%) was more common than CD (13%). Both UC and CD were mostly seen in the 30 to 40 years age group. In patients with UC, the rectum was the most commonly affected site. Discussion IBD in Nepal affects young males in their thirties. Younger age of affliction with a chronic disease and lack of awareness regarding the symptoms and diagnostic modalities of IBD may result in a delayed diagnosis. The target population must be made aware of the presenting symptoms of IBD and a need for colonoscopic examination for diagnosis. There is also a need for creating a national IBD registry for Nepal.