How joint pain worsens quality of life for ulcerative colitis patients: study

A recent study found that joint pain can have a significant impact on quality of life for patients with ulcerative colitis, MedPage Today reported Dec. 8. 

The study, led by Marlana Radcliffe, MD, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine Chapel Hill, analyzed patient surveys from 631 individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms linked to ulcerative colitis and found that 36 percent reported joint pain. Dr. Radcliffe presented the results in a poster presentation at the Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases annual meeting, according to the publication. 

Dr. Radcliffe also noted that joint pain was related to increased risks of depression, anxiety and social impairment. 

"We have to be aware that patients have other things happening other than just with their gastrointestinal discomfort that also needs to be addressed," Dr. Radcliffe told MedPage Today. "Our findings support further research and clinical attention on addressing the extraintestinal manifestations of arthritis in ulcerative colitis patients." 

"Joint pain is very common among our patients," Svein-Oskar Frigstad, MD, PhD, of Vestre Viken Bærum Hospital and the University of Oslo in Norway, told MedPage Today. "Inflammatory bowel disease involves inflammation, and of course, pain in the joints is often caused by inflammation as well. We also see increases in bowel symptoms among patients who also have joint pain."

He continued that physicians should be vigilant about inquiring about a patient's joint pain and what medications they may take for it, as many joint pain medicines can increase gut inflammation and affect medications for inflammatory bowel disease.

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