“An examination of the level of reproductive knowledge specific to inflammatory bowel disease and its effect on voluntary childlessness amongst female IBD patients in an Irish population”
Dr Ella Patchett, Dr Aoife O'Sullivan, Dr Syed Akbar Zulquernain, Clodagh Byron
Department of Gastroenterology, Cork University Hospital
IBD commonly effects patients during their peak reproductive years. Current research indicates there is a lack of knowledge surrounding the effects of their condition on their reproductive health and fertility. Poor pregnancy related IBD knowledge can unfortunately result in unnecessary voluntary childlessness. Previous studies have proven a link between poor knowledge and childlessness but no such study has been conducted in an Irish population.
To establish the level of IBD specific reproductive knowledge in female Irish IBD patients using the validated CCPKnow questionnaire and ascertain if there is an association between a low CCPKnow score and voluntary childlessness. Secondary objective to examine female IBD patients’ perception of their condition on fertility, pregnancy and reproductive health.
Cross sectional study of 63 female IBD patients recruited from Cork University Hospital. Participants completed the Crohns Colitis Pregnancy Knowledge questionnaire to assess reproductive knowledge. Demographics, IBD characteristics, reproductive history and attitudes regarding IBD and reproductive issues were also collected.
Reproductive knowledge was poor in 43% of participants. Of the 63 participants, 8 were deemed voluntarily childless. The association of low CCPknow score and voluntary childlessness was not significant ( p=.387). Participants had a negative outlook on how IBD affects reproductive issues and showed high levels of anxiety surroundings their condition.
Nearly half the patients scored poorly on the knowledge scale utilised. Anxiety surrounding obstetric issues were prevalent in this Irish IBD cohort. Patient education and interaction is essential. Intervention such as dedicated maternity and perinatal clinics may be useful in this setting.