Anxiety and behavioral changes in Japanese patients with inflammatory bowel disease due to COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey

J Gastroenterol. 2023 Mar;58(3):205-216. doi: 10.1007/s00535-022-01949-6. Epub 2023 Jan 6.


Background: Given the increasing health concerns for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we investigated the impact of the pandemic on the anxiety and behavioral changes in Japanese patients with IBD.

Methods: We analyzed 3032 questionnaires from patients with IBD, aged 16 years or older visiting 30 hospitals and 1 clinic between March 2020 and June 2021. The primary outcome was the score of the anxiety experienced by patients with IBD during the pandemic.

Results: Participants reported a median age of 44 years; 43.3% of the patients were women. Moreover, 60.6% and 39.4% were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, respectively, with a median disease duration of 10 years. Participants indicated an average of disease-related anxiety score of 5.1 ± 2.5 on a ten-point scale, with a tendency to increase, 1 month after the number of infected persons per population increased. The top three causes for anxiety were the risk of contracting COVID-19 during hospital visits, SARS-CoV-2 infection due to IBD, and infection by IBD medication. Factors associated with anxiety were gender (women), being a homemaker, hospital visit timings, mode of transportation (train), use of immunosuppressive drugs, and nutritional therapy. Most patients continued attending their scheduled hospital visits, taking their medications, experienced the need for a family doctor, and sought guidance and information regarding COVID-19 from primary doctors, television, and Internet news.

Conclusions: Patients with IBD experienced moderate disease-related anxiety due to the pandemic and should be proactively informed about infectious diseases to relieve their anxiety.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Inflammatory bowel disease; Questionnaire survey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • East Asian People
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Male
  • Pandemics