Time trends of physician visits for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States, 1960–2006



Background: The purpose of this study was to analyze physician visits associated with inflammatory bowel disease in the United States in order to shed light on the underlying disease time trends in the United States.

Methods: The National Diseases and Therapeutic Index of IMS America from 1960 until 2006 was used as the data source. Survey data had been obtained from a representative sample of U.S. physicians 4 times per year during a 48-hour period and extrapolated to a national level. All physician visits for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis were expressed as rates per 100,000 people living in the United States.

Results: Physician visits for Crohn's disease increased almost 5-fold between 1960–1964 and 1990–1994 and have leveled off since then. Except for a slight decrease between 1960–1964 and 1980–1984, physician visits for ulcerative colitis have remained largely unchanged, especially during the most recent 15 years. Similar trends were observed for both men and women.

Conclusions: U.S. time trends of physician visits are similar to other previously published time trends of inflammatory bowel disease. It appears that the overall incidence of inflammatory bowel disease has remained stable in the past 15 years.

(Inflamm Bowel Dis 2007)