The main symptoms of Crohn’s disease are diarrhoea, stomach aches and cramps, and blood in your poo.
Alongside this, joint problems are also often associated with Crohn’s disease. A joint is where two bones meet.
Indeed, “joint problems are one of the most common symptoms outside the gut that people with Crohn’s Disease experience”, according to Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity.
Inflammation of the joints, often known as arthritis, is a common complication of Crohn’s disease. You might experience pain and swelling.
Pain in joints, known as arthralgia, and inflammation around the tendons and ligaments, known as enthesitis, is also commonly found.
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Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe. They usually develop gradually, but not in every instance.
The joints that can be affected are mostly the spine, or the joints of the arms and legs.
The reason this can happen is that the body’s immune system causes inflammation in the joints and the area around them. Proteins which normally protect the body are overproduced and cause inflammation.
“Many people don’t realise that there can be a link between joint and gut symptoms, and gastroenterologists don’t always specifically ask about joint problems. This can mean arthritis may not be diagnosed for some time and effective treatment can be delayed,” add Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity.
For some people joint problems can be a first symptom of Crohn’s.
Joint problems can limit mobility and cause pain which might affect work, exercise or social life, “but there are effective ways to treat and manage joint problems,” explain the organisation.
Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and has been linked to genes and a problem with the immune system.
Joint pain or pain and swelling of the joints are the most common symptoms outside the gut, also known as “extraintestinal symptoms”, associated with IBD.
If you are having a flare-up in your gut then your joint problems are likely to be worse.
Crohn’s disease affects people of all ages, though the symptoms usually start in childhood or early adulthood.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, though it is thought several things could play a role.
These factors include smoking, a problem with the immune system, an abnormal balance of gut bacteria, and a number of other things.
There’s no cure for Crohn’s disease, but treatment can help reduce or control your symptoms.
It is estimated that Crohn’s Disease affects about one in every 650 people in the UK.
Crohn’s appears to be slightly more common in women than in men.
If you think you have symptoms of the condition you should speak to your GP.