Having an IBD is bad enough in and of itself, but did you know that it can also cause other health issues that can occur in several parts of your body?

An IBD Can Affect You From Head to Toe

Many health issues can manifest as a result of an IBD and since inflammation goes hand in hand with an IBD, that can cause several off-shoot symptoms in parts of your body not even related to your gut. Even if your IBD symptoms are under control, the inflammation can still wreak havoc. Here is a list of the most common health issues associated with IBDs.

01 Joint Pain: Joint pain is very communal among those with an IBD and can affect large and small joints alike; from hips to knees to your hands and fingers. I myself experience hand and finger joint pain quite often, and if I sit for long periods of time even my knees can start to ache.

02 Skin: For me, before I get a flare up (or if I just haven’t been feeling well), I get this lovely rash localized to just my chest area. Once I’m feeling better, it goes away. However, more serious issues, in those with Crohn’s especially, can occur in the form of ulcers on the skin and lesions in the mouth; both require immediate medical attention.

03 Eyes: Eye problems are another common concern in the form of a condition called episcleritis. This simply put is eye redness, burning, and sensitivity. A more serious, more painful condition called uveitis, which is an inflammation in the middle part of your eyes and scleritis, which affects the whites of your eyes are also something to be aware of. Since both can cause vision loss if not treated, it’s a good idea to keep up with your yearly eye exams and to tell your ophthalmologist you have an IBD so they know what to be looking for.

04 Bones: ¬†Osteoporosis can develop more rapidly in IBDers than in the general population; especially women since we are already sensitive to it as we age. ¬†Steroids are the biggest lechers of calcium and overuse can result in bone loss. When I was first diagnosed, my doctor’s go-to was months and months of prednisone. Chronic overuse of this medication had my bone loss equal to a woman in her 60s in my early 40s. Luckily, adding daily calcium and Vitamin D brought me back up to where I should be in about a year. It’s not always medications that cause this, not enough exercise and trouble absorbing calcium and Vitamin D can play a role too.

How Can I Counteract These Issues?

There are several ways you can help counteract or even avoid some of these potential health problems. Exercise, eat well, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, and ask your Doctor what vitamins or supplements you can add in to help replace the vitamins you are either not absorbing or losing during a flare-up.

Having a good working relationship with your Doctor also helps. Use your Pack Health Tracker to jot down daily how you feel, what you’re feeling and how often you’re feeling it. Bring it to your next appointment to let your Doctor know. Not every ache and pain is going to be IBD related, but by letting your Doctor know they can decide if it is something that needs to be looked into further and possibly treated.

Note: If you are experiencing any of these health issues, this blog post is for information purposes and is not intended to replace the advice of a Doctor. Please see your Doctor for diagnosis and recommended treatment. Consult your Doctor before adding in any vitamins or supplements.


Read More from Sheri:

Getting Diagnosed

When Healthy is Not Your Friend

The Dangers of Comparing Yourself to Others


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