Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term collectively used for two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The condition is characterized by the chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GI), resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, etc. One of the causes of early onset of IBD is the use of antibiotics in childhood. This study aims to evaluate the association between the use of antibiotics and the risk of IBD.

This prospective case-control study included a total of 23,982 patients with IBD (ulcerative colitis: 15,951 and Crohn’s disease: 7,898). The patients were matched with 117,827 controls and 28,732 unaffected siblings. The history of antibiotic use was kept into consideration. The primary outcome of the study was the risk of a diagnosis of IBD measured using conditional logistic regression.

The findings suggested that the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) in patients who had used antibiotics versus those who did not was 1.88 for the diagnosis of IBD (1.74 for ulcerative colitis and 2.27 for Crohn’s disease). The risk of incident IBD exhibited a linear correlation with the number of antibiotic dispensations (1.11 for one dispensation, 1.38 for two dispensations, and 1.55 for three or more).

The research concluded that early exposure of antibiotics was linked with an increased risk of IBD, with the risk increasing linearly with the frequency of dispensation.