Ulcerative colitis: Any connection to arthritis?

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Ulcerative colitis: Any connection to arthritis?

Question

Is there any connection between ulcerative colitis and arthritis?

Frances
Texas

Answer

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Between 5 percent and 10 percent of people with ulcerative colitis also have an inflammatory arthritis called colitic arthritis. Its cause isn't clear. But one theory is that inflammation in the digestive tract allows bacteria into the body, which trigger an immune response in the joints.

Colitic arthritis tends to get worse during flares of ulcerative colitis. For this reason, treatment of the arthritis is usually directed at improving the underlying IBD. Typically, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended for arthritis pain. Although NSAIDS may make IBD worse, newer studies suggest that they may be safe for people with IBD if used only for a limited time.

If you have IBD and have questions or concerns about taking NSAIDs, consult your doctor.

Last Updated: 05/11/2006
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