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According to recent scientific research, there is a high probability that you have an undiagnosed bowel illness if you regularly suffer from depression. Scientists conducted a study whose findings indicate that bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease might be characterized by depression, especially before diagnosis.

Researchers from St George’s University of London, London, and King’s College London, and Imperial College London collaborated on the study. They studied 15,000 individuals diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The research showed that patients were more likely to receive a depression diagnosis years before their inflammatory bowel disease or IBD diagnosis.

Why the research findings are essential to the medical community

The study conclusion indicates that depression might be a precursor to IBDs, and as such, doctors should consider having depression patients screened for inflammatory bowel illnesses. Early diagnosis would give patients a leg-up as far as treatment is concerned because early treatment deployment may help eliminate the condition instead of managing it when it is at an advanced stage.

Some IBD symptoms include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Some patients experience these symptoms years before a diagnosis, which means that the link to depression might aid early diagnosis. The research also indicates that individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms who have not developed depression symptoms have are 40 percent higher chance of suffering from depression than individuals who do not have depression. Those that had depression before gastrointestinal symptoms manifested are more likely to develop IBD than non-depressed individuals.

The study findings also indicate that depression alone does not necessarily mean that one will develop gastrointestinal problems. However, individuals with a history of gastrointestinal problems and depression have a higher probability of developing IBD. Dr. Jonathan Blackwell, an author of the study, noted that the study findings indicate a link between depression and IBD, although the connection is unclear. He also encouraged anyone suffering from rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and abdominal pains while also experiencing depression should seek medical attention because the condition might be treatable.

Dr. Blackwell also stated that people should exercise caution, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, because depression and anxiety-related changes are more difficult to detect over the phone. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances of treatment and complete recovery.