- Intestinal Inflammation
- Medication Side Effects
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory joint condition that causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness of multiple joints in the body. An autoimmune condition occurs when the body suffers from dysregulation of the immune system and attacks its own proteins. Both RA and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are autoimmune conditions. According to multiple studies, many immune-mediated diseases have overlapping pathologies. Hence, some people affected with RA may develop other autoimmune conditions, such as IBD. However, people are more likely to have other issues with their digestive system that may not necessarily be caused by IBD.
How can rheumatoid arthritis affect your digestive tract?
Role of inflammation
Studies show that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can coexist in some people. IBD represents two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It is the “chronic” inflammation that is common to both conditions. The same inflammation that targets your joints in RA may also affect your digestive system and lead to IBD.
Rheumatoid vasculitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. It can also affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and result in symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and weight loss. Controlling RA by targeting the inflammation alleviates these symptoms as well.
Role of genes and environment
Common genetic (genes, such as HLA-DRB1 and TYK2) and environmental factors may play a role in the development of both RA and IBD.
Can rheumatoid arthritis medications affect your digestive system?
It is common to experience gastrointestinal symptoms as side effects of medications for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The common medications include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Frequent and prolonged use of NSAIDs can cause gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
- Steroids: High doses of steroids for prolonged periods may result in gastric ulcer, gastrointestinal (GI) perforation (GI bleeding), and pancreatitis. The risk increases if you are also taking NSAIDs.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): Methotrexate can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
- Immunotherapy (biologics): Many drugs used for immunotherapy to treat RA can produce side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps. Serious complications include GI perforations and bowel obstruction.
You should discuss all the possible risks and benefits of taking any of these medications with your doctor as part of your shared decision-making process.
How can you alleviate gastrointestinal problems in rheumatoid arthritis?
If you want to alleviate your gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your arthritis under control. Also, let your doctor know if you experience any new GI symptoms after starting the medications. They may change your medication or put you on drugs, such as proton-pump inhibitors, that work to reduce your nausea. They may also recommend certain dietary modifications to minimize your GI complaints.
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WebMD. RA and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: What's the Link? https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/ra-and-ibd
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Causes of Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder (the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells). Certain factors increase the risk of RA.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Diet
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a name for a group of diseases in which there is inflammation of the digestive tract (gastrointestinal tract). Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the most common types of inflammatory bowel disease. While there is no specific recommended diet for a person with IBD, doctors and specialists recommend a low-residue (low fiber) diet for people with inflammatory bowel disease. Nutritionists, registered dieticians, and other health-care professionals can recommend specific foods, create meal plans, and recommend vitamins and other nutritional supplements.
Foods to avoid with IBD
- Examples of foods to avoid that may trigger symptoms include if you have IBD include products alcohol, diary products, fatty, fried, and spicy foods, beans, and creamy sauces.
Foods to eat with IBD
- Examples of a low-residue (low-fiber) diet that may help relieve symptoms after a flares of the disease are plain cereals, canned fruit, rice, oatmeal, and bananas.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The intestinal complications of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis differ because of the characteristically dissimilar behaviors of the intestinal inflammation in these two diseases.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following.
- Both sides of the body affected (symmetric)
- Joint deformity
- Joint pain
- Joint redness
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint tenderness
- Joint warmth
- Loss of joint function
- Loss of joint range of motion
- Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
16 Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms and SignsEarly RA symptoms and signs vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree.
RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
What Are the Four Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis?Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by pain and inflammation in joints, typically of the hands and feet. It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system of the body attacks its own healthy cells, resulting in inflammation of the membrane lining the joints and damage to joint tissue.