Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Two-way Association?

Zergham AS1, Sekhon AK1, Mebasher A1, Tserenpil G1, Malik BH1. Cureus. 2020 Jan 31;12(1):e6836. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6836.


Author information

Internal Medicine, California Institute of Behavioral Neurosciences and Psychology, Fairfield, USA.


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) is an umbrella term that covers both ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease(CD), which are chronic inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal system. Airway diseases are one of the most commonly studied manifestations of IBD. It is observed that populations with pre-existing obstructive pulmonary conditions are at higher risk of new-onset IBD. This newly documented evidence of increased incidence of IBD among patients with pulmonary diseases and the higher than the estimated prevalence of pulmonary diseases among IBD sufferers support the hypothesis of a two-way association. This review article focuses on summarizing the current knowledge and available evidence regarding the association between IBD and obstructive pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, bronchiectasis, and asthma. We utilized PubMed as the primary search source and database and included the free full-text articles available on it, published over the past five years. We reviewed literature from multiple regions of the world, such as the US, UK, China, and Canada and compiled this traditional review article utilizing the information collected from 4,966,459 patients. Specifications such as age and gender were not mentioned in all articles. This review will serve to strengthen the existing research database concerning the relationship between IBD and obstructive pulmonary diseases. It will help to highlight the significance of the two-way association between IBD and obstructive pulmonary disease and the importance of treating these two conditions simultaneously. It will also raise awareness about the importance of timely detection of IBD and associated airway complications, leading to decreased disease burden and the treatment cost.

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