What is the relationship between the distribution and activity of IBD and arthritis?
Patients with UC and Crohn’s disease are more likely to develop a peripheral arthritis if the colon is extensively involved. In patients with type 1 arthritis, most arthritic attacks occur during the first few years following onset of the bowel disease, but late occurrences can also occur. The episodes of arthritis coincide with flares of bowel disease in 60% to 80% of patients. The arthritis may precede symptoms of IBD in up to 30% of cases, especially in children with Crohn’s disease. Consequently, lack of gastrointestinal symptoms or a negative stool guaiac test does not exclude the possibility of occult Crohn’s disease in a patient who presents with a characteristic arthritis!