During active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) fatigue is a common symptom, which seems related to active gut inflammation. However, even in remission many patients suffer from fatigue that negatively affects quality of life and work productivity. Currently, robust knowledge on the pathogenesis and treatment of IBD-related fatigue is lacking. In order to alleviate the burden of IBD-related fatigue, a systematic approach is mandatory. We propose a fatigue attention cycle to enhance identification, evaluation and management of fatigued IBD patients. The benefits of the cycle are twofold. Firstly, it allows the systematic and uniform identification of patients with severe fatigue, in turn allowing tailored non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions. Secondly, uniform identification of such patients creates a well-defined patient base to investigate the underlying pathogenesis of fatigue, resulting in a greater understanding of this debilitating phenomenon and possibly resulting in the discovery of predictive factors and new treatment interventions.
Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease; fatigue; identification; management; quality of life.
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