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Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Adults - Experience and Challenges in Gastroenterology Practices in Calabar, South-South Nigeria.

BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that is reported to be rare in Africans. The objective of this study is to share the experience of our Gastroenterology practice in Calabar, Cross River State on IBD.

METHODS: This is a ten-year review of the records of patients visiting the Gastroenterology clinic of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and two private gastroenterology clinics in Calabar Municipality. The diagnosis of IBD was made based on clinical, laboratory, endoscopic, and histological data obtained.

RESULTS: Eight patients presented with features consistent with IBD. Six had ulcerative colitis while 2 had Crohn's disease. Seven patients had moderate disease with the main clinical features being recurrent mucoid bloody diarrhoea. All the patients had treatments with either sulphasalazine or mesalazine as well as azathioprine, steroids and antibiotics with variable response. One patient had strictures requiring a colostomy, while another developed colorectal cancer as complications of IBD.

CONCLUSION: Although IBD is uncommon in Nigeria, a high index of suspicion is important, especially in patients presenting with the recurrent passage of mucoid bloody stools. Hence, the role of colonoscopy and histology are invaluable in establishing the diagnosis.

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