Women's health includes comprehensive physical, mental and preventive care. This section will provide an overview of some of the most common disorders that can impact the health and quality of life (QOL) of women with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).
Women with IBD are at higher risk for cervical dysplasia compared to healthy controls with most cases preventable with vaccination. Current rates of cervical cancer screening and human papilloma virus vaccination remain low. Irritable bowel syndrome is highly prevalent among women with IBD and may present with similar symptoms. In addition, gastrointestinal symptoms may worsen during the menstrual cycle. Evaluation for active inflammation and infection should be undertaken prior to changing IBD medications. Fecal incontinence is prevalent but highly underreported in women with IBD. Further, sexual dysfunction is ubiquitous in women with IBD. Many aspects of IBD impact sexual function, including side-effects of medications, changes in body image and surgical interventions.
Understanding other disorders that may cause symptoms in women with IBD is important for providers to obtain a clear history, provide the appropriate treatment and improve QOL. Caring for women with IBD involves more comprehensive care beyond the treatment of active luminal inflammation.
aDepartment of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Virginia Commonwealth University
bVirginia Commonwealth University and Hunter Holmes McGuire Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Correspondence to Jill K.J. Gaidos, MD, FACG, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, GI Hepatology Service (111-N), 1201 Broad Rock Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23249, USA. Tel: +1 804 675 5000 ext 5021; fax: +1 804 675 5816; e-mail: Jill.Gaidos@va.gov