Fatigue in out-patients with inflammatory bowel disease is common and multifactorial.

P Bager, R Befrits, O Wikman, Stefan Lindgren, B Moum, H Hjortswang, N H Hjollund, J F Dahlerup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often complain of fatigue. Aim To investigate the prevalence and characteristics of fatigue among IBD out-patients in Scandinavia and to provide normative values for fatigue in IBD patients. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted on 425 IBD patients from six out-patient centres in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Fatigue was measured using the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory. The patients were also screened for anaemia and iron deficiency. Each centre included approximately 5% of their IBD cohort. The patients were enrolled consecutively from the out-patient clinics, regardless of disease activity and whether the visit was scheduled. The fatigue analysis was stratified for age and gender. Results Using the 95th percentile of the score of the general population as a cut-off, approximately 44% of the patients were fatigued. When comparing the IBD patients with disease activity to the IBD patients in remission, all dimensions of fatigue were statistically significant (P < 0.05). Being anaemic or iron deficient was not associated with increased fatigue. Being a male patient with ulcerative colitis treated with corticosteroids was a strong determinant for increased fatigue. The normative ranges for IBD fatigue were calculated. Conclusions Fatigue in IBD is common regardless of anaemia or iron deficiency. Fatigue in IBD is most marked for patients <60 years of age. Stratifying for gender and age is necessary when analysing fatigue, as fatigue is expressed differently between groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
JournalAlimentary pharmacology & therapeutics
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology


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