Irritable bowel syndrome (IBD) is a very common malady affecting a large portion of the population to some degree or another. Patients with more severe symptoms are often advised against traveling. Conditions in developing countries can exacerbate symptoms. Recent studies are debunking these claims, showing that travel restrictions may not be necessary for patients with IBD.
The studies actually show that individuals with IBD experienced increased symptoms when traveling to countries that were industrialized but not when traveling to areas with tropical climates or that were developing. This is a direct contradiction to previously held beliefs and can be great news to IBD sufferers. In fact, researchers say that is a person has experienced a remission in his or her IBD symptoms for three months or longer, then travel should not be a problem.
In one key study, researchers studied a sample of 222 patients with IBD and the control group of 224 patients who did not have the condition who had taken more than 1,000 trips. A survey revealed that IBD patients who traveled to countries that were industrialized experienced increased symptoms in 14% of the trips. By contrast, the control group experienced symptoms in 3.3% of the trips.
Remarkably, when the groups traveled to tropical regions or developing countries, the statistics evened out and the incidence of increased symptoms was very similar for both groups. Where the control group experienced symptoms 21% of the time, the IBD patients actually had a lower percentage, at 17%.
The conclusion of these studies is that patients with IBD do not have any higher risk or experiencing increased symptoms or of contracting intestinal infections than their non-IBD counterparts. The conclusion here is that IBD patients should not be restricted, but they should be careful and take every precaution to guard against disease and infection including vaccines.