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.