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RA and inflammatory bowel disease

Hi, I’m 26 years old and was diagnosed with RA 4 years ago. I’ve recently had problems with my stomach and my GP is now doing tests to see if I have IBD as she said having one autoimmune condition increases the risk of developing another one. I’m absolutely terrified about what this will mean for me and my future and was wondering if anyone else has had any experience of dealing with two autoimmune conditions? How does it work with medication? When one flares will the other one flare? How do you manage daily life? Does anyone know if developing another autoimmune condition means my RA isn’t under control? Thank you for reading and any help or advice you can give.

  1. I have had intestinal problems for many years and have learned my triggers, lactose, additives etc. and could control ot somewhat. I was given the drug Rinvoq for my RA and surprise! It really helped my gastrointestinal issues. I had my first ice cream cone in 20 years, and I think Rinvoq really helped.

    1. Hi, ! I don't blame you one bit for being scared and concerned about the future. I don't want to minimize how hard it can be to manage one autoimmune condition, let alone two. But, honestly, I think many people find that first diagnosis to be the hardest one. At least, the learning curve is so steep when you are newly diagnosed with your first autoimmune condition. So, when a person is diagnosed with a second autoimmune condition it can be frustrating and disheartening and a person might feel like, "Really? Do I really *need* more to deal with in life??". But, you tend to know the general ropes already. You're not a newbie anymore and you have learned a lot (hopefully) about healthcare and advocating for yourself and your health. I know some of our community members deal with more than one autoimmune condition and actually, two of our contributors deal with two or more conditions; Lisa Emrich -- https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/community/experts/lisa-emrich and Amanda Osowski -- https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/community/experts/amanda-osowski.


      And, if you are diagnosed with another autoimmune condition doesn't necessarily mean that your RA isn't under control. And, depending on that second condition, there is some medication overlap as well. And, there are doctors that are quite good at helping a patient navigate treatment of multiple conditions, so I hope that gives you a little comfort. And when it comes to flares, well, that can vary from person to person. Some people experience both conditions flaring at the same time while others don't. It's not the same for everyone.


      I wanted to share a conversation from our sister site for Multiple Sclerosis on the topic of managing more than one health issue. It's not just about multiple autoimmune conditions, but I thought you might find it interesting -- https://multiplesclerosis.net/forums/ms-comorbidities-how-do-your-other-medical-issues-combined-with-your-ms-impact-you. You're definitely not alone in this!


      It *is* possible to manage more than one condition well.


      I hope your doctor is able to get to the bottom of what's going on very soon and that you are given a firm diagnosis AND treatment options.


      Again, you're not alone in this! Please take the time you need to process and let yourself feel all the feelings you need to. That's normal and healthy. And we're here for you anytime you want to chat.


      Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.


      1. , you were wise to discuss your stomach issues with your doctor even though its overwhelming to contemplate another health issue.
        I had IBS before being diagnosed with RA. My intestines felt like they were being twisted in a vice on a regular basis.
        Once I started on Humira, those episodes became much less frequent. I'm now waiting for a new medication to start working and my intestines noticed...right back in the vice. But that has slowly improved with my 2nd dose of Simponi Aria.
        If it stinks that autoimmune issues tend to travel in herds, the positive is that one medication can cover multiple issues.


        gave a great tip about watching for things that trigger your stomach symptoms. Maybe a food journal would help track things? Fried foods are a trigger for me. I do miss a beautiful plate of fish and chips but its just not worth it.


        I'll be hoping that you don't have IBD and get answers and relief from the symptoms soon!


        1. Oh the scary part I feel is waiting for answers. Hopefully your doctor will help you figure out what is going on and get those answers for you, fingers crossed! You already got some great advice and thoughts. I suffer with 4 autoimmune diseases and 3 other chronic medical conditions at this time. It started when I was about 30yrs old and now 60. Over the years I hit my medical conditions head on as they were found, sought treatment, did the follow ups and continued living my life in the way I wanted, made changes to at times as needed. Continue to face life with goals for yourself, the future is going to be what you make it to be. You are a strong person, already facing your RA head on, you have what it takes to continue forward. Best to you and hoping you start feeling better soon!

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