OBJECTIVE: To make a retrospective and prospective analysis of the frequency of symptomatic inflammatory bowel disease in patients with Behçet's syndrome (BS). METHODS: The medical records of the first 1000 patients with BS were reviewed retrospectively for past or present history of diarrhoea. The past and present history of diarrhoea was also elicited prospectively among 147 consecutive patients with BS and 78 diseased controls (42 with rheumatoid arthritis, 17 with systemic lupus erythematosus, seven with seronegative spondylarthropathy, and 12 with miscellaneous rheumatic diseases). Inflammatory mucosal changes were sought in rectal biopsy specimens from 75 patients with BS, 47 diseased controls (29 with nephrotic syndrome, eight with rheumatoid arthritis, six with familial Mediterranean fever, and four with ankylosing spondylitis), and 14 patients with ulcerative colitis. RESULTS: In chart review there were only seven Behçet's patients with diarrhoea; none of them had inflammatory bowel disease. In the prospective survey there were no significant differences between the BS and control groups in the past and present history of diarrhoea. There were no significant differences in the rectal mucosal histology between patients with BS and controls, while patients with ulcerative colitis showed pronounced differences. CONCLUSION: Symptomatic inflammatory bowel disease is not common in BS patients from Turkey.
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