“Microscopic colitis can manifest itself with multiple symptoms or hardly any symptoms at all,” begins Dr. Fine.
“Microscopic colitis can manifest itself with multiple symptoms or hardly any symptoms at all,” begins Jeffrey Fine, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical Surgical Clinic of Irving.
Microscopic colitis presenting with only joint aches?
“I have not seen this personally, but it may be possible,” says Dr. Fine.
This is not to be confused with experiencing joint aches for a time period before the onset of diarrhea, but rather, an onset of joint aches without any gut symptoms ever appearing—and then the joint aches mysteriously disappear.
“In most cases, gut conditions and joint pain seem to go hand-and-hand,” Dr. Fine says.
“We suspect that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may play a part in this. NSAIDS are commonly used to treat joint pain and inflammation, but they can cause ulceration of the gut/colon lining.”
In other words, the scenario may be as follows:
You have joint aches (not caused by microscopic colitis). You take NSAIDS. The drug, however, triggers microscopic colitis.
So it seems as though there’s a connection between the arthralgia and the MC.
On the other hand, a person can develop microscopic colitis in the absence of taking NSAIDS, and have joint aches that are related to the MC.
My own initial onset of microscopic colitis in May of 2010 was apparently triggered by extreme emotional duress, and I had not been taking any NSAIDS.
My aches (which felt like a nasty case of PMS discomfort) appeared around the same time that the diarrhea did, though I don’t recall which came first.
“However, joint aches are not always concurrent with GI problems,” says Dr. Fine.
“With regard to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for example, joint issues may occur concurrently with GI issues, but in some cases they’re independent.”
Enteropathic arthralgia: joint pain (or aches) associated with a gastroenterological condition.
“Since they may occur concurrently or independently, if you’re experiencing one or both symptoms, set an appointment with your rheumatologist/gastroenterologist, so that he/she can evaluate your unique case.”
Dr. Fine has been in practice for over 30 years and specializes in digestive health, integrative medicine and food sensitivities.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.