Joint pain? Keep an eye on your bowels, expert advises

joint pain, bowels, inflammatory bowel disease, remission, arthritis research, bowels  People with joint pain who have issues with their bowels should mention the situation to their healthcare professional in case inflammatory bowel disease is to blame. Clues include changes in bowel habits, bloody stool and unexplained weight loss.

Prof David T Rubin from the University of Chicago made recommendations to rheumatologists at a recent international conference:

“Please suspect inflammatory bowel disease more often. If they have unusual elimination dietary habits, if they tell you that every time they eat x, y or z, they have problems, you should be thinking about whether it’s the bowel and not the actual food, and get them to someone who is going to be able to see them. Unexplained weight loss and blood in stools is never, of course, normal. If they are waking up with gastrointestinal symptoms, it’s not an irritable bowel – they may have been told that because they’re 24 years old – get them to a gastroenterologist.”

Inflammatory bowel disease can impact on how well arthritis drugs work.

If someone is diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, the aim of treatment is to achieve normal bowel function through rapidly induced remission, which should be maintained without the use of steroids.

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