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Arthritis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders, including Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, that cause an inflammation of the intestines. Approximately 7 to 20 percent of people with IBD develop arthritis, which typically affects the large joints of the lower extremities. Men and women with IBD are affected by arthritis equally.

Symptoms of arthritis (joint pain, swelling and stiffness) usually occur at the same time a person is experiencing symptoms of IBD.

Your doctor will begin by recording your complete medical history, including a description of your symptoms. You also will undergo a physical examination to check for any physical signs of the disease.

In most cases, the arthritis improves dramatically when the underlying inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is treated. Treatment may consist of the following:

  • A modified diet
  • Exercise
  • Surgery
  • Drug therapy

Possible medications include corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, sulfasalazine and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

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UCSF Clinics & Centers

Rheumatology Clinic
400 Parnassus Ave., Floor B1
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353–2497
Fax: (415) 353–2530
Appointment information