Female reproductive health and inflammatory bowel disease: A practice-based review

Dig Liver Dis. 2021 Jun 10;S1590-8658(21)00271-1. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2021.05.020.Online ahead of print.

Alessandro Armuzzi 1, Aurora Bortoli 2, Fabiana Castiglione 3, Antonella Contaldo 4, Marco Daperno 5, Renata D'Incà 6, Nunzia Labarile 7, Silvia Mazzuoli 8, Sara Onali 9, Monica Milla 10, Ambrogio Orlando 11, Mariabeatrice Principi 12, Daniela Pugliese 1, Sara Renna 11, Fernando Rizzello 13, Maria Lia Scribano 14, Alessia Todeschini 4, Italian Group for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Working Group


Author information

  • 1CEMAD - IBD Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, A Gemelli University Hospital, Rome, Italy.
  • 2Gastroenterology Unit, UAO G Salvini, Rho, Italy.
  • 3Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, School of Medicine Federico II of Naples, Naples, Italy.
  • 4Emergency and Organ Transplantation Department, Section of Gastroenterology, AOU Policlinico, Bari, Italy.
  • 5Gastroenterology and Endoscopic Unit, Umberto I Mauriziano Hospital, Turin, Italy.
  • 6Gastroenterology Unit, Padua University Hospital, Padua, Italy.
  • 7Gastroenterology Unit, Ospedale Santissima Annunziata, Taranto, Italy.
  • 8Gastroenterology and Artificial Nutrition Department, "Mons. Dimiccoli " Barletta, Italy.
  • 9Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Science and Public Health, University Hospital of Cagliari, Italy.
  • 10IBD Referral Center, Gastroenterology Clinic, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy.
  • 11Inflammatory Bowel Disease Unit, A.O.O.R. Villa Sofia-Cervello, Palermo, Italy.
  • 12Emergency and Organ Transplantation Department, Section of Gastroenterology, AOU Policlinico, Bari, Italy. Electronic address: b.principi@gmail.com.
  • 13Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
  • 14Gastroenterology Unit, San Camillo Forlanini Hospital, Roma, Italy.


Inflammatory bowel diseases, namely ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, occur worldwide and affect people of all ages, with a high impact on their quality of life. Sex differences in incidence and prevalence have been reported, and there are also gender-specific issues that physicians should recognize. For women, there are multiple, important concerns regarding issues of body image and sexuality, menstruation, contraception, fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. This practice-based review focuses on the main themes that run through the life of women with inflammatory bowel diseases from puberty to menopause. Gastroenterologists who specialize in inflammatory bowel diseases and other physicians who see female patients with inflammatory bowel diseases should provide support for these problems and offer adequate therapy to ensure that their patients achieve the same overall well-being and health as do women without inflammatory bowel diseases.



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