There have been very few studies on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in Sri Lanka. This study was undertaken to determine the clinical presentation and whether a western style diet or infection with geo-helminths were associated with the condition.
Three questionnaires were given to the patients: one relating to diet, one relating to clinical presentation and one relating to quality of life. The disease was confirmed endoscopically and histologically. Faeces were examined for parasites.
Forty four patients were enrolled (43-ulcerative colitis; 1-Crohn's Disease). All but one had ulcerative colitis. Most had no family history of disease. The peak age of onset was 21-40 y and 63% gave a history of more than 6 months symptoms prior to diagnosis. Clinical presentation was similar to cases in western countries although milder with less severe life-events. None of them had undergone surgery. All patients ate a rice-based diet and none ate bread made of refined flour. Only 2 patient was infected with a geo-helminth.
Eating bread made of refined flour is not related to development of IBD in these patients. The prevalence of geo-helminths in the study population corresponded to the general population average. Delay in diagnosis occurs because of an initial assumption that the cause of symptoms is infective. A National Register of non-infectious gastrointestinal disease would aid the epidemiology and allocation of funding to this inflammatory condition.