There is conflicting data on whether inflammatory bowel disease follows a seasonal pattern.
In this study, researchers from the United States determined whether relapse of inflammatory bowel disease follows a seasonal pattern.
The team used 1988 to 1997 data from the General Practice Research Database to conduct a retrospective cohort study of 1587 patients with Crohn’s disease and 2773 patients with ulcerative colitis.
They identified flares of disease by the receipt of a new prescription for corticosteroids or 5-ASA medications, following ≥ 4 months without prescriptions for either medication.
The team used logistic regression to adjust the association of season of the year and flare of disease for potential confounding variables.
|Season was weakly associated with flares of ulcerative colitis.|
The researchers found that there was no association between season of the year and flare of Crohn’s disease.
However, season of the year was weakly associated with flares of ulcerative colitis.
They found that spring had very slightly higher rates of flares (OR = 1.13), compared with winter.
The team did not observe seasonal patterns within individual patients experiencing multiple flares.
Dr James Lewis's team concluded, "Although we observed a slight increase in exacerbations of ulcerative colitis in the spring, in general, these data do not support an association between season of the year and flares".