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Gay men two times more likely to have inflammatory bowel disease – research

In patients with a diagnosis of high-risk same-sex sexual activity, 0.8% were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and 1.26% with ulcerative colitis.

Photo by Keagan Henman from Unsplash.com

Gay men are over twice as likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than heterosexual men when both populations engage in high-risk sexual activity. This is according to research – “Epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease in men with high-risk homosexual activity” by Emad Mansoor, Scott A Martin, Abe Perez, Vu Quang Nguyen, Jeffry A Katz, and Shubham Gupta – that appeared in the peer-reviewed medical journal Gut.

For this research, the team evaluated self-reported data from patients treated at 58 healthcare organizations in the US between 2002 and 2022.

The data showed that in patients with a diagnosis of high-risk same-sex sexual activity, 0.8% were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and 1.26% with ulcerative colitis. These findings were compared to men who engage in high-risk heterosexual activity, of which, 0.49% had Crohn’s disease and 0.52% had ulcerative colitis.

For this research, high-risk sexual activity includes sexual contact without barrier protection as well as having multiple sexual partners.

The team similarly analyzed the data in relation to Crohn’s disease; they found men who engaged in high-risk same-sex sexual activity were more likely to have peri-anal disease including peri-anal abscess, rectal abscess and stricturing disease of the colon or small intestine. Among those with severe manifestations of ulcerative colitis, men who engaged in high-risk same-sex sexual activity were more likely to undergo partial colectomy.

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