IBD caused by a previous illness??

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 497
   Posted 1/11/2008 8:06 AM (GMT -7)   
I was just curious if anyone here believes their IBD may have started after an illness.  I have heard of this theory and I just wanted to see what everyone else thinks about it.
Thanks for your replies!

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 1/11/2008 8:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Nope don't believe that one. Sorry! They believe there is a trigger, but no one knows yet what that trigger is. We do have a faulty gene though, but no one knows what triggers this gene to become active. JMHO
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 267
   Posted 1/11/2008 8:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I must say that I am very, very suspicious about the cause of my CD because of the "coincidental" timing of it. I was always a very healthy person, no medical problems at all, until 2000. I weighed 200lbs and went on the Atkins diet for several months, losing about 50lbs. When I had met my goal weight I slowly started reintroducing more carbohydrates into my diet. It was at that point that the diarrhea began, although mild at first. Then in 2001 I went on a week long camping trip in the WY mountains, during that time I drank and cooked with fresh mountain stream water. After that camping trip my d went from managable to really bad, and it got progressively worse over the next few years. Without trying I went down to about 114lbs, I looked horrible and felt worse. My PCP tested me for parasites, etc, and found none.
But I know in my heart that it's more than a coincidence that I was absolutely fine (I could eat anything, I had an iron stomach) before I started a very high protein diet, I think that's where my CD began and was kicked into overdrive by the stupidity of me drinking creek water.
Anyway, that's just my opinion and my story. Thanks!
Marci, 38 years young, Rockledge, FL
Dx with Crohn's disease March 2006
Currently on bi-weekly Humira, daily 6mg Entocort, daily 2-3x 5mg hydrocodone (for pain), and daily 75mg Effexor,
plus 3x per day heavy iron supplements for anemia,
calcium supplement, daily multi-vitamin,
Lasix as needed for ankle/feet swelling
Self-proclaimed "recluse"  do to CD  ;)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 497
   Posted 1/11/2008 6:02 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for your replies! 

I was wondering because I had Meningitis back in April and since then I have had some of the symtoms of Crohn's.  Anyhow, I did not even realize Crohn's existed until I went to the doctor for one of these symptoms that would not go away. 

I kind of wonder if being sick with meningitis--and before that I had the influenza--kicked my immune system into high gear and if this is why I am having these symptoms now.  I don't know.  Guess I just want to know where it comes from is all. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 598
   Posted 1/11/2008 6:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a very bad virus in the 1970's. I developed a low white cell count after this and also gi problems. The gi problems went away until 5 years ago but the WBC problem remained. Viruses can screw up your immune system.
10 years, many tests, 3 gi doctors, Pentasa 1000mg 3x day
diovan, simvastatin and now trying good ol' zoloft

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 98
   Posted 1/11/2008 6:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I've seriously considered the possibility!  I was diagnosed with a SEVERE case of mono in March 06. Symptoms of Crohns appeared in July 06. Since mono effects the immune system and Crohns is a disease of the immune system it really almost makes sense that they are connected. Who knows though? I try not to focus to much on how I got this lovely disease...just how to keep it under control : )

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 1/17/2008 10:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Virus can screw up a lot of things. I had ebv virus or mono for a good year.  And then every since then bowel problems have been getting worse and worse then postive tests for crohns. 

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 1/17/2008 10:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I think that we all have this in our genes. That what my doc says. But I've always beleived it 'sprang up' because of some other factor - an illness, eating too many chemicals, or something else. For me I was fine till I started purposely purging what I ate in the bathroom, and drinking nothing but slim fast shakes and popping diet pills. I only did that for a short while but have had bowel problems ever since. Maybe CD was always there. Maybe it would have happned anyway. But the coincidence of it I can't get past.

Unfortunatly for me, whatever caused it I'm stuck with. I try not to think about it and focus on getting well.

Good luck to you!
Diagnosed with UC 8 years ago
Asacol / 12 per day
Canasa / 1 per day
Rowasa / 1 per day
Prednizone / 40 MG Day( finished taper!!!)
Azathioprine / 100 MG Day
Levaquin 1 per day
Flogyl 1 per day
Diagnosed with Crohn's 6/26/2007

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4384
   Posted 1/17/2008 11:02 AM (GMT -7)   
What I have read is the prevailing theory is that we have a genetic propensity for Crohn's and then something, possibly a virus or bacteria, "turns on" the disease and the auto-immune process begins. My Crohn's seems to occur shortly after my mom was diagnosed with Cancer, so sometimes I wonder about stress as the initiating factor. There is so much unknown about this disease. Knowing what causes it still doesn't help to cure it.
49 yr. old female, diagnosed with Crohn's in small intestine and terminal ileum Sept-Oct. 2007
currently taking Pentasa 2750 mg- 9pills/day and on and off Prednisone for flares

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 1668
   Posted 1/17/2008 11:14 AM (GMT -7)   
I have several theories as to what possibly triggered my Daughter's IBD especially after being healthy for all of her childhood despite chronic constipation since birth and probably was IBS that was never properly diagnosed.

Many, many IBDers are diagnosed in their teens. My Daughter one of them. During a span of 2 years, she had Mono like many Teens do, she was also over-prescribed antibiotics from her Dermatologist, then she suffered a serious accident which resulted in surgeries and being pumped full of even more antibiotics to the point that I actually watched her teeth dramatically change color, then there was PTSD to deal with after that. After all was said and done and pretty much recovered, she got slapped with a Crohn's/Colitis diagnosis which was misdiagnosed for a good year because her Ped chalked everything up to her accident/injuries/surgeries/PTSD.

I firmly believe that there are different factors that can trigger chronic diseases and illnesses especially elements that could result in PTSD. My Brother was diagnosed with Diabetes after a very scary, life threatening event. Neither diabetes nor IBD run in our Family at all which makes it all the stranger to us. Granted, my Daughter was most likely pre-disposed to IBD with chronic constipation being an early warning sign that was continually ignored by all of her Peds.

Veronica Ballerina
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 1/17/2008 12:03 PM (GMT -7)   
In my case, my symptoms started in the very day that my father died, so I think could it be something related with stress!
Veronica Nunes - 27 years - Brazil

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 1/17/2008 12:13 PM (GMT -7)   
My GI problems started after I drank some old stagnant water out of an old travel trailer water tank by accident and became very sick. Could have been the trigger, but who knows without the trigger maybe I wouldn't have got it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1010
   Posted 1/17/2008 12:34 PM (GMT -7)   
It is natural to seek to make sense (find something to blame) when hit with an adverse event, like a chronic illness. The not knowing threatens our sense of control that we like to think we have in our lives and if we can find a reason for why this thing happened it helps us reestablish that sense of control.

I got IBD months after losing my second child (SIDS) and while pregnant for my third. For many years, I built a personal narrative that said I got crohn's because the stress from losing my child suppressed my immune system. The only problem with the narrative was this niggling knowledge, which I usually suppressed, that I had had unusual symptoms while pregnant for my second child.

That same need to be in control also prompted me to blame myself for my child's death. For years I was convinced that she died because I dressed her too warmly during a family sledding outing. Intellectually I knew that the autopsy results didn't support this, but i chose to believe it, because it was better than the alternative -- that it was an act overwhich I had no control (just like getting crohn's). My healing began, first by forgiving myself for the possibility that I contributed to her death. That occurred in a hospital on the 10th anniversary of her death when a nurse and a trusted friend cut through my tearful confession by asking, "So what if you did kill her? Did you mean to?" Such a simple and direct question, but it began changing my point of view, because the answer, of course, was no of course i didn't want to hurt her. Quite the opposite. All my actions that day -- taking her out for a walk in her sled, putting an extra blanket on her when i realized her sister wanted to stop and slide on the neighborhood sledding hill -- were motivated by a desire to protect and nurture her.

So I guess, my question to everyone on this thread today is, "So what if your crohn's was caused by drinking river water or taking antibiotics, or stress, or getting mono?" I don't think any of us wished this disease on ourselves, and even if we are all right, in the end it won't change anything. We really don't control much of the big stuff that happens in our lives. All we have a say in is how we choose to deal with these life challenges.

From my observations of all of us on this web site, I'd say we are doing an incredible job of coping against some really tough tests.

Bless you all

30+ years living with Crohn's.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 1/17/2008 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for sharing your story. I think you're absolutely right, and your experience with dealing with the loss of your daughter shows that acceptance is a long, non-linear process. Questioning every possible cause is the natural reaction to adverse events, and so is a feeling of responsibilty and guilt. I'll definitely think of your story the next time I'm wondering if I brought this on myself somehow. I'm sorry about your daughter but glad to see that you have come out of it stronger.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4384
   Posted 1/17/2008 8:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry you lost your daughter. You have been through so much, and I for one am so grateful that you post on this forum. It is a natural part of grief to question why things happen, whether it's a SIDS death or a Crohn's diagnosis, but in the end, we all just need to move forward. Thanks for sharing.
49 yr. old female, diagnosed with Crohn's in small intestine and terminal ileum Sept-Oct. 2007
currently taking Pentasa 2750 mg- 9pills/day and on and off Prednisone for flares

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 497
   Posted 1/17/2008 8:56 PM (GMT -7)   
My heart goes out to you Belleenstein for your loss.  You mentioned some great words of wisdom in this post.  Although I have not been formally diagnosed with IBD, I have constantly tried to figure out what I did wrong or what I didn't do to cause potentially having it.  This kind of thought process can really bring you down. 
Thanks to everyone who has shared on here and heard me out--it helps a lot! 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 3169
   Posted 1/18/2008 4:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Beautiful post, Belleenstein. I, too, am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I just can't imagine anything more tragic. In coming to terms with your loss, you have learned so much, and I thank you for sharing it so eloquently.

Crohn's disease is a loss, too. I rebelled against having to give up, bit by bit, activities that I considered parts of my life. It took me years to experience that what I do is not who I am. Oh, I might have known that intellectually somehow, but it took being virtually bedridden to make me face it. As others have said, I would gladly accept a cure, and I wouldn't want to relive all the pain and frustration, but I am still so grateful for the self-knowledge and empathy it has triggered.

Nothing traumatic happened shortly before my Crohn's got really bad; I was actually more active and happier than I had been in years. I was attending classes and seminars, volunteering as a career counselor, completing my first novel, and had just opened a licensed home day care. I never asked "Why me?" but I did say "Why now?" I can look back and see that everything worked out, and maybe "wandering in the desert" was just what I needed. Again, it's not something I want to repeat, but hopefully I'll remember what I learned.

My apologies for such a long response. I awakened too early and came here while I wait for sleep to return.
Take care. Lois

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 491
   Posted 1/18/2008 4:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I can't believe you all are so optimistic. I haven't even been actually dx'd with CD although everyone is mentioning it & seems to be what it is to me. Everything started with me in May when I started to get every cold & flu that went around, until June when I became very ill with a severe kidney infection. I was put on Cipro, and the kidneys healed I guess, but I just started to drop weight & feel weak. No diarrhea or anything. Then in August my brother (36-year old father of a 1-year old son) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I didn't really have time to even realize what was happening in my body because there was so much to do and take care of. He passed one month ago today and I miss him dearly. I began to realize how sick I was, but didn't want anyone to worry about me because of everything else they were having to deal with. Then the runs began & terrible cramps & bloating. Now my stomach gets upset at everything I eat. I kept thinking it was just because of the stress of my brother, but actually the stress has reduced since he passed. I just try to rest & eat what I can (which is nothing). So maybe it was the infection that triggered it.... Maybe it was the antibiotics I was on for 3 weeks.... I don't know. But now they think my mother may have CD, too. : (

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 497
   Posted 1/18/2008 6:37 AM (GMT -7)   

Hukleberrie I am so sorry to hear about your brother... :(  My thoughts are with you!  I hope your mother doesn't have CD! 

I haven't been technically diagnosed with Crohn's yet either...I do have several symptoms that could be Crohn's (mouth sores, diarrhea, episcleritis--which went on for about 6 months, cleared up for a month, and is back now--and rectal bleeding).  My first significant illness was in December of 2006--I had conjunctivitis in both eyes for about 3 weeks, a severe kidney/bladder infection which made my urine pink from blood.  Anyhow I got over that then about two months later I got the influenza, then I got viral spinal meningitis about 3 weeks after that and since the meningitis, everything else has just kept coming.  I honestly had hoped that my episcleritis was from having the meningitis but after 4 eye doctors evaluating it (I went for second opinion after first being diagnosed and the 2nd clinic I was seen by 3 other doctors) I finally went to an internist and she said Crohn's is the second most common cause of episcleritis and ran all kinds of blood work to check for anything and everything that can cause the eye condition.  All my blood work came back normal so I had the scopes and the biopsies did not confirm Crohn's but I have inflammation in several places--my esophagus, my terminal illiem my cecum just to name a few. 

I am the kind of person that wants an answer for everything...that's probably why I posted my question in the beginning.  Having that eye condition for months drove me crazy, especially when the eye doctors could not explain it.  They even did their own blood work as well.  They finally told me to go see a doctor because they figured something else was going on to make it last and last. 

Honestly, I have wondered if my previous illnesses have caused this.  I don't take very good care of myself when I am sick--as soon as I feel the slightest bit better, I am off and running doing housework, getting back to work, etc. 

On the other hand when I think about it, I have had bouts of diarrhea off and on for years.  At the same time, if I had Crohn's all along, I wonder why it didn't show up in my biopsies.  I guess only time will tell.  I am very thankful though, if I do end up having it, that it started now and not in my teens or 20's. 

I wish the best for you and your mother.  I sincerely hope neither one of you have Crohn's.  Take care and keep us posted!


New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, December 11, 2017 11:37 PM (GMT -7)
There are a total of 2,904,285 posts in 318,742 threads.
View Active Threads

Who's Online
This forum has 158129 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Luna1969.
250 Guest(s), 2 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
Jay99, Gunner34