UEG press release

United European Gastroenterology (UEG) calls for increased emotional support from primary care practitioners for children with inflammatory bowel disease

August 11, 2014

UEG calls for increased emotional support from primary care practitioners for children with IBD.

(August, 11, 2014) In response to a new study highlighting the impact of IBD on children, United European Gastroenterology (UEG), Europe’s largest digestive health body, is calling for improved emotional support between doctors and health care professionals during consultations to minimise the psychosocial impact IBD has on children and young people.

The Impact of IBD Study1 recently published in the Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, reveals that IBD can be difficult to diagnose with patients not always presenting with all the most common symptoms. The study also reports alarming delays in diagnosis, with 17% of under 18’s left waiting more than 5 years before receiving a final diagnosis, which can further impact on the patients’ mental wellbeing.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a life-long condition that causes inflammation in the intestine and is increasing in children with 30% of all IBD patients presenting with symptoms between the ages of 10 and 19.3 The two most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affecting around 70 in every 100,000 children2.

Children with IBD are frequently considered emotionally vulnerable with some children found to have behaviour problems, psychiatric disorders, depression and diminished social competence. IBD can also cause delayed growth and development which adds to the emotional distress many children experience.

UEG call for improved consultation techniques for both doctors and healthcare professionals to ensure depth and coverage of IBD issues so that no important information is missed when speaking with patients1. This is especially relevant as 64% of patients needed emergency care before their diagnosis and 46% of patients were hospitalised for an average of 24 days, adding to their stress of having IBD.

Dr Nikhil Thapar, Consultant Gastroenterologist and UEG spokesperson, says, “It’s vital that both patients and doctors feel they can discuss all aspects of IBD whether it be diagnosis, treatment or condition management comfortably during a consultation. Doctors should also offer patients the opportunity to raise questions whilst providing them with the psychosocial support they may need to deal with their condition. IBD can make it impossible for young patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease to continue in education and hold down a job. Therefore it is important they receive the psychological support to optimise their emotional and mental wellbeing”


1. EFCCA Impact of IBD Study 2010-2011. Published J Crohns and Colitis. 2014 March 21

2. Kappelman MD, Rifas-Shiman SL, Kleinman K et al. The prevalence and geographic distribution of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007; 5:1424–9.

3. Problems in the diagnosis of IBD in children. H.A Buller. Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands Journal of Medicine.

4. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Young People - The impact on education and employment report - downloadable from the www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk

5. Szigethy E, McLafferty L, Goyal A. Inflammatory bowel disease. Pediatr Clin North Am 2011; 58: 903-20.

6. Minderhoud IM, Oldenburg B, van Dam PS, van Berge Henegouwen GP. High prevalence of fatigue in quiescent inflammatory bowel disease is not related to adrenocortical insufficiency. Am J Gastroenterol 2003 May: 98 (5): 1088-93.

Notes to Editors

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu

*EFCCA (European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations) Impact of IBD Study

The IMPACT study was commissed in 2010-2011 by EFCCA and involved over 5000 people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), in 27 European countries. To find out more about EFCCA and the Impact Study visit: www.efcca.org

To arrange a press interview with Dr Thapar, UEG Spokesperson and Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, please contact Samantha Forster, details below.

Press contacts

Samantha Forster: samantha@spinkhealth.com

Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

Related Press Content

More Press releases