Arthritis: The painful joint condition could be caused by this bowel problem
Arthritis causes pain and inflammation of the joints, most commonly the hands, spine, knees and hips.
It is a common condition, affecting around 10 million people in the UK.
The two most common types arthritis are osteoarthritis, which affects around eight million people, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis mostly affects the hands, spine, knees and hips. It roughens and thins out the cartilage lining of joints, causing swelling and the formation of bony spurs called osteophytes.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system targets joints, causing swelling and a change in the joint’s shape.
However, there is also a lesser known type of arthritis, which is associated with irritable bowel disease.
Enteropathic arthritis is a form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis associated with IBD.
The two best-known types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition, where the colon and rectum become inflamed.
Symptoms include recurring diarrhoea, tummy pain and needing to empty the bowels frequently.
Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed.
The main symptoms are diarrhoea, stomach aches, blood in the poo, tiredness and weight loss.
There is no cure for either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, but both can be treated with medication.
With both conditions, sufferers may go for weeks or months with very mild symptoms, followed by periods of flare-ups.
It is during a flare-up when people may then develop enteropathic arthritis.
About one in five people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis will develop enteropathic arthritis, according to the NHS.
Enteropathic arthritis most commonly affects the limbs and spine, causing inflammation around those areas.
This can cause pain, tenderness and stiffness and restricted movement.
“There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow down the condition,” said the NHS.
Treatments include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines, and in severe cases surgery.