What are the environmental risk factors of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Updated: Apr 10, 2020
  • Author: William A Rowe, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Several environmental risk factors have been proposed as contributing to the IBD pathogenesis, but the results are inconsistent, and the limitations of the studies preclude drawing firm conclusions. The most consistent association described has been smoking, which increases the risk of Crohn disease. However, current smoking protects against ulcerative colitis, whereas former smoking increases the risk of ulcerative colitis. Dietary factors have also been inconsistently described. In some studies, high fiber intake and high intake of fruits and vegetables appear protective against IBD. [12] The E3N prospective study found that high animal protein intake (meat or fish) carried a higher risk of IBD. [13]

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