Bowel Disease (IBD) can lead to Arthritis
Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's and ulcerative
colitis, can be a painful and debilitating condition. In
addition to bowel symptoms, patients with IBD often experience
extraintestinal complications, such as arthritis, kidney
and liver disease, eye disorders and skin problems. Of these,
arthritis is the most common - occurring in about 25% of
all IBD sufferers.
bowel disease causes a whole range of inflammatory reactions
in joints, sinews and vessels. This association can be easily
explained by the fact that one of the functions of the GI
tract is to rid the body of dangerous substances. If this
protective barrier is damaged, toxic substances can enter
the body and cause inflammatory and rheumatologic diseases.
These antigens can collect in the synovial fluid of the
joints, which can cause a local inflammatory response. They
can also enter the bloodstream and cause a reaction from
the immune system itself, leading to damage in joints and
other tissues of the body.
Western medicine tends to separate different body systems
without looking at their intricate relationships. Inflammatory
bowel disease and arthritis are both auto-immune diseases.
They need to be looked at as "co-existing" conditions
that influence and contribute to one another, rather than
two separate, unrelated illnesses. Only a thorough approach
that addresses the causes of auto-immunity and recognizes
the interaction of IBD and arthritis can ameliorate both
intestinal diseases can lead to different forms of
Ulcerative colitis patients are more
likely to experience arthritis in their peripheral
those with Crohn's disease, on the
other hand, arthritis tends to develop in knees
and ankle joints
suffering from diverticulitis rarely
experience rheumatoid or ankylosing arthritis. Rather,
diverticular disease often leads to peripheral small
with celiac disease (inability to
digest gluten, a protein found in grains, like wheat,
rye, barley, oats and corn) often suffer from symmetrical
polyarthritis, which involves major joints - such
as knees and ankles, along with hips and shoulders.
This type of arthritis can appear before other symptoms
of celiac disease in 50% of patients. Later, softening
of the bones - also known as "osteomalacia"
- can occur.
of arthritis in people with IBD is equal for men and women,
and even children.
may be a warning symptom of IBD
arthritis can appear before the symptoms of IBD, especially
in children with Crohn's disease. If your
child develops arthritis, Crohn's should be considered,
even if your child isn't yet experiencing any intestinal
symptoms and occult stool tests are negative.
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form of arthritis called "spinal arthritis"
- or spondylitis - can occur years before the onset of more
common IBD symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea and abdominal
pain. Spondylitis produces pain and stiffness in the lower
spine and sacroiliac joints. A more sinister and rare form
of spinal arthritis called "ankylosing spondylitis"
can lead to inflammation of the eyes, lungs and heart valves.
Both forms of spondylitis are serious illnesses that can
severely limit your quality of life and lead to serious
complications. It's important to seek timely treatment or
better yet, try to prevent the onset of arthritis if you're
at risk because you suffer from IBD.
is key for IBD sufferers
If you suffer from IBD - be it either ulcerative colitis
or Crohn's disease - it's important to talk to a doctor
about preventative measures you can take to avoid arthritis.
As the saying goes - and it's particularly true in this
case - the best offense is defense.
people suffering from colitis and arthritis need to address
both diseases. Otherwise, you'll be simply relieving symptoms
rather than treating the underlying cause. For example,
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin
and ibuprofen) along with steroid injections are often used
to treat arthritis and lessen pain associated with it. But
if you're an IBD sufferer - beware! NSAIDs can irritate
your intestinal lining and lead to more inflammation. It's
important that your treatment plan considers all aspects
of both conditions.
you're overweight, try to lose weight. Your diet should
be modified according to your body neeeds, avoiding specific
triggers that lead to your symptoms. Although you need to
follow a special diet (i.e. gluten-free in celiac disease
or meat-free in gout and other arthitic pain), it is important
to keep all the essential nutrients, especially protein,
in balance with proper quantity and quality of minerals
and vitamins. Controlling your nutrition will be the most
important tool on your road to wellness.
we can help:
you suffer from IBD and arthritis, your treatment
must be specifically individualized because too many
factors are involved in each disease to take a simplistic
approach. Comprehensive dietary plan, supplementation
and physiotherapy are key .
Koles has extensive experience in treating auto-immune
diseases, particularly colitis and arthritis. As an
immunologist, she has a deep understanding of the
way our diet can cause our immune system to attack
its own tissues. In treating IBD and arthritis, Dr.
Koles uses various functional
nutritional tests to assess your biochemical
metabolic profile, food sensitivities and intestinal
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then devises a highly individualized treatment protocol
that utilizes nutritional modification, supplementation
with vitamins and minerals and special probiotics
with the essential beneficial bacteria called E.Coli
Nissle 1917, which has been proven to be
as effective as standard anti-inflammatory medications
for maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis patients
without the associated side effects. It also effective
treats many other intestinal problems, such as as
Crohn's, intestinal dysbiosis, bacterial overgrowth
and so on.
Koles is committed to helping both children and adults
overcome both IBD and arthritis by treating its underlying