In one study, only half of the 239 patients were aware of the negative effects smoking has on the diseases.
What exactly are those effects? Research shows that smoking can make Crohn’s Disease (one type of IBD) worse, because smokers are more likely to have severe symptoms, require stronger drugs, and a have a poorer quality of life. It has also been found that smokers are twice as likely to have a flare up of Crohn’s in relation to non-smokers.
Ulcerative Colitis, however, has quite the opposite reaction to smoking. Research has actually been found to show that smoking has a sort of protective effect against this disease, possibly because the nicotine in tobacco may increase the production of mucus. While it might be tempting to continue smoking because of this, health professionals do not recommend this because of the increased risk of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, other cancers and heart diseases.
The most important step a person can take in order to prevent IBD is to not take up smoking in the first place. While it may not seem like an individual with IBD has much control over their health, quitting (or never starting) smoking is a step they can take on their own to improve their health. Please talk with one of the doctors at Asheville Gastro Associates if you have an Inflammatory Bowel Disease and are currently smoking. We want to get you on the road to your best health!