Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Beyond pregnancy, women's health in inflammatory bowel disease

Walker, Caroline H.a; Gaidos, Jill K.J.b

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: July 2019 - Volume 35 - Issue 4 - p 288–295
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0000000000000552

Purpose of review 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).

Recent findings 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.

Summary 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:

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.