Inflammatory bowel disease and asthma. Results from the RHINE study

Respir Med. 2023 Sep:216:107307. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2023.107307. Epub 2023 Jun 2.


Background: Asthma and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are common inflammatory diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of IBD with asthma and respiratory symptoms.

Methods: This study is based on 13,499 participants from seven northern European countries that filled in a postal questionnaire on asthma, respiratory symptoms, IBD including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease and various lifestyle variables.

Results: There were 195 participants with IBD. The prevalence of asthma (14.5 vs 8.1%, p = 0.001), different respiratory symptoms (range 11.9-36.8% vs range 6.0-18.6%, p < 0.005), non-infectious rhinitis (52.1 vs. 41.6%, p = 0.004) and chronic rhinosinusitis (11.6 vs 6.0%, p = 0.001) were higher in subjects with IBD than in those without IBD. In multivariable regression analysis, the association between IBD and asthma was statistically significant (OR 1.95 (95% CI 1.28-2.96)) after adjusting for confounders such as sex, BMI, smoking history, educational level and physical activity. There was a significant association between asthma and ulcerative colitis (adjusted OR 2.02 (95% CI 1.27-2.19)), and asthma but not Crohn's disease (adjusted OR 1.66 (95% CI 0.69-3.95)). A significant gender interaction was found with a significant association between IBD and asthma in women but not in men ((OR 2.72 (95% CI 1.67-4.46) vs OR 0.87 (95% CI 0.35-2.19), p = 0.038).

Conclusions: Patients with IBD, particularly those with ulcerative colitis and female, have a higher prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms. Our findings indicate that it is important to consider respiratory symptoms and disorders when examining patients with manifest or suspected IBD.

Keywords: Asthma; Inflammatory bowel disease; Respiratory symptoms; Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma* / complications
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / epidemiology
  • Crohn Disease* / complications
  • Crohn Disease* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires