Tags: Arthritis | arthritis | ulcerative colitis | hidden link

Arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis: A Hidden Link?

By    |   Tuesday, 03 May 2016 10:23 PM

Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis who then develop arthritis may wonder if there's a hidden link between the two debilitating conditions. Well, it turns out the connection between arthritis and ulcerative colitis is not illusory at all.

Arthritis is considered a complication of ulcerative colitis, one type of inflammatory bowel disease, writes Dr. Filip Van den Bosch, rheumatology head of clinic at the Universtity of Ghent Hospital.

This type of arthritis can also occur in patients with Crohn’s disease. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America estimates that arthritis affects as many as 25 percent of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, ulcerative colitis causes chronic inflammation and lesions in the intestinal tract and rectum. It can have devastating effects on overall health.

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Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include weight loss, severe diarrhea, stomach pain, and fatigue.

Symptoms of arthritis associated with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis begin with soreness in the low back and joint stiffness, particularly upon waking in the morning.

The CCFA explains that arthritis affecting patients with ulcerative colitis can be classified as one of three types: peripheral arthritis, axial arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

The three types differ with respect to the areas of the body they affect and their severity.

Ankylosing spondylitis is the most severe spinal arthritis that occurs more often in patients with Crohn’s disease than ulcerative colitis.

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Diagnosis can be a challenge for physicians to determine if a patient’s arthritis is due to inflammatory bowel disease. This type of arthritis is less severe in its symptoms than rheumatoid arthritis and the joints are not damaged to the same degree.

Although many arthritis patients reach for over-the-counter pain remedies like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, these are not recommended for patients with ulcerative colitis. NSAIDs can cause further gastrointestinal upset and more frequent flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease, says the CCFA.

Corticosteroids can be an option for controlling the inflammation in the joints as well as the inflammation in the intestines. Once the ulcerative colitis is under control, arthritis pain generally lessens.

The Arthritis Foundation also stresses that physical therapy can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritis pain and for improving range of motion. Lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise are also recommended.

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Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis who then develop arthritis may wonder if there's a hidden link between the two debilitating conditions. Well, it turns out the connection between arthritis and ulcerative colitis is not illusory at all.
arthritis, ulcerative colitis, hidden link
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2016-23-03
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 10:23 PM
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