BMC Gastroenterology (Aug 2021)

Experiences of ethnic minority patients who are living with a primary chronic bowel condition: a systematic scoping review with narrative synthesis

  • Salina Ahmed,
  • Paul D. Newton,
  • Omorogieva Ojo,
  • Lesley Dibley

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 1
pp. 1 – 23


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Abstract Background Prevalence of chronic gastrointestinal diseases has been rising amongst ethnic minority populations in Western countries, despite the first-generation migrants originating from countries of low prevalence. Differences caused by genetic, environmental, cultural, and religious factors in each context may contribute towards shaping experiences of ethnic minority individuals living with primary bowel conditions. This review aimed to explore the experiences of ethnic minority patients living with chronic bowel conditions. Methods We conducted a systematic scoping review to retrieve qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies from eight electronic databases, and manually searched reference lists of frequently cited papers. Results Fourteen papers met the inclusion criteria: focussing on inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and coeliac disease. Core themes were narratively analysed. South Asians had limited understanding of inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease, hindered by language and literacy barriers, particularly for older generations, suggesting that culturally relevant information is needed. Family support was limited, and Muslim South Asians referred to religion to understand and self-manage inflammatory bowel disease. Ethnic minority groups across countries experienced: poor dietary intake for coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease, cultural conflict in self-managing diet for inflammatory bowel disease which increased anxiety, and there was a need for better quality of, and access to, healthcare services. British ethnic minority groups experienced difficulties with IBD diagnosis/misdiagnosis. Conclusions Cultural, religious, and social contexts, together with language barriers and limited health literacy influenced experiences of health inequalities for ethnic minority patients living with chronic bowel diseases.