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Symptoms of Enteropathic Arthritis

The symptoms of enteropathic arthritis (EnA) can be divided in two groups:

  1. Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  2. Arthritic symptoms in the joints and, possibly, elsewhere in the body.

IBD Symptoms

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two types of IBD most commonly associated with EnA in spondylitis. Abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea are the most common symptoms of IBD.

Arthritis Symptoms

About one in five people with EnA will have inflammatory arthritis in one or more peripheral (limb) joints such as an arm or leg, although the lower limbs are more commonly affected. The severity of the peripheral arthritis normally coincides with the severity of the IBD, thus when diarrhea and abdominal pain are flaring, the peripheral arthritis tends to flare, as well.

About one in six people with IBD also has spinal inflammation, although this is independent of the severity of the bowel disease symptoms. In many people, this may just be arthritis in the sacroiliac (SI) joints, but in about five percent of people, the entire spine is involved.

Note that arthritis symptoms may precede the IBD symptoms.

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