ORLANDO — Physicians need to do a better job of recognizing what influence inflammatory bowel disease has on their patients’ quality of life, according to Anita Afzali, MD, medical director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Afzali, who participated in a panel discussion on sexual health and fertility concerns in IBD at Advances in IBD 2018, said it all begins with asking patients what’s happening in their lives.
“How is their sexual health, their general wellbeing as far as their interests, potential erectile dysfunction, pain with intercourse [and] fertility questions they may have,” Afzali told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “The most important component of what we’re trying to emphasize is [that] providers need to do a better job of asking patients what exactly are potential concerns, or fears, that they have.”
Afzali noted that there are clinically validated questionnaires – including the PHQ9 – that could help evaluate patients for depression and anxiety. She also highlighted that there are several other questionnaires that evaluate sexual health and wellbeing.
“Mental health in inflammatory bowel disease is very real and we need to do a better job about asking our patients what is impacting their quality of life,” she said. This is a chronic lifelong disease and we need to really understand that this impacts their everyday activities.” – by Ryan McDonald
Disclosures: Afzali reports serving on a speaker’s bureau for AbbVie, IBD Horizons, Janssen, Pfizer, Takeda and UCB.