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Inflammatory bowel disease in Iran: a review of 457 cases.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was believed to be infrequent in Iran; however, unofficial reports have confessed the continuing rise in IBD in our country.

METHODS: Demographic and clinical features, extraintestinal manifestations, extension of disease and complications of 401 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), 47 with Crohn's disease (CD), and nine with indeterminatn colitis (IC) were assessed retrospectively. The exact course of physicians' visits of 250 IBD patient was asked through face-to-face interview.

RESULTS: Mean age at diagnosis was 31.9 years in UC and 30.5 years in CD patients. The male to female ratio was 0.8 for UC and 1.3 for CD. The percentage of CD and UC patients who were non-smokers was 82.9 and 84.5%, respectively. Patients with UC presented with rectal bleeding (41.9%), whereas those with CD complained of abdominal pain (46.9%). Among UC patients, proctosigmoid was affected in 51.9%. Colorectal cancer was diagnosed in two patients. The mean lag time between the onset of symptoms and definite diagnosis was 13.9 and 17.7 months for UC and CD patients, respectively. A total of 32.4% of patients with IBD had at least one of the five major extra-intestinal diseases.

CONCLUSION: The demographic and clinical picture of IBD is more or less the same as that of other developing countries; however, the rarity of CD in Iran is noted. Although the true epidemiologic profile of IBD in Iran is still unknown, it is not as rare as previously thought, and it seems as if gradual adoption of a Western lifestyle may be associated with the continuing rise in IBD.

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