Crohn's/Pregnancy and Arthritis

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/18/2011 8:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I have just joined this group and looking for help and information.
My daughter was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis shortly after giving birth to her first child who was conceived after 3 rounds of IVF.  She had hitherto being healthy but as a child had suffered from ear infections and had been prescribed antibiotics.  This is the reason I am now wondering about Crohn's as today's papers say there could be a link between digestive disorders and antibiotics.  I see that arthritis can be a symptom of Crohn's and I wonder how many sufferers on here have had joint stiffness and swelling as a symptom. 
Having done much research into RA we tried food elimination advised by a naturopath but due to so much weight loss this was abandoned even though the results were good.  My daughter is now on Humira and Prednisolone (5mcg) but at the same time felt she could begin by elminating tomatoes and red meat as a start. She is as good as when she initially eliminated foods advised by the naturopath.  I cannot believe that Humira has worked within days.   I have to admit that when she started on Prednisolone (10mcg) she was amazing after only one day but has had bad days since when she has inadvertently eaten tomatoes in takeaways.
My daughter doesn't have any bloating or cramping, just joint pain and stiffness. Is it possible to have Crohn's without the above symptoms?
Does anybody else have similar symptoms and have also been helped by food elimination? 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 1/18/2011 10:21 AM (GMT -6)   
I was dx'd with JRA as a child - got it at 2 years old, full blown flare and multiple joints by age 8. Suffered with the RA for years and then was dx'd with Crohn's at 16. The docs told me the Crohn's was there "first" but the arthritis manifested itself first. That sounds a bit confusing, but since it's all auto-immune related I kind of look at them as almost one and the same.

I'm a little unclear from your post - does your daughter have Crohn's? Or are you just suspecting that she might have it? There are many symptoms of crohn's so she doesn't have to have bloating and cramping to get the diagnosis. Does she have other symptoms?

I have 3 children and I always go into remission when I am pregnant and then flare about 3-6 months afterwards. I find that breastfeeding helps ease the drop in hormones and thus ease the onset of the flare. It doesn't prevent the flare, but helps.

I have had a lot of success with controlling the Crohn's by following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet - it's basically a "food elimination" diet. I don't know if it helps the arthritis or not because my two diseases play off of each other - when one is quiet, the other is active and vice versa. I rarely have them both flaring at once. I've also been GREATLY helped by taking biologics (Remicade for 6+ years and then Humira for 2 & 1/2).

There are quite a few people here who have been helped by food elimination. I hope they will come and respond soon.


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 1/18/2011 10:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Crohn's is diagnosed by findings in a biopsy. Rheumatoid arthritis is typically diagnosed with blood tests - anti-CCP, and the RF factor tests. If the anti-CCP and RF factor tests are positive, then, she has RA. It is possible to have Crohn's in addition to RA, but if those tests are positive, she most likely has RA.

I do not know much about treating RA with food elimination. In my experience (my mom has RA), prednisone works wonders for RA. Also Humira is a great drug for RA, and can be contributing to her feeling better. I strongly advice not to discontinue the medications. If you feel that the food elimination is helping, perhaps you can do both the meds and the elimination.

Also, there is a RA board on healingwell, and they may be able to provide better information.

Hope your daughter continues to improve and feel better.

Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Crohn's in Remission since June 2008
C-diff recurrence Sep 2009
Reactive Arthritis Nov 2009
Currently c-diff free
Osteopenia of spine (Mar 2010)
Canasa (1gm), Lialda (4.8 gms), Remicade (8 weeks)
Currently In Remission

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 1/18/2011 2:29 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for your reply.

My daughter has had positive RF tests etc. although at first they did say she was something of 'an enigma' in the Rheumatology Department as she was unlike other sufferers. Doctors do not tend to investigate symptoms, merely to stick an elastoplast on them and hope for the best.

Having read about the connection between digestive problems/Crohn's and antibiotics given when a child, I wondered if it is possible to have Crohn's without the 'digestive problems' but have the arthritis which I have seen as a possible symptom. I know the gut is implicated somewhere here as the largest part of the immune system is in the gut lining. I think the immune system gets out of balance during pregnancy when it alters to avoid rejection of the baby. This could be why symptoms can disappear when pregnant. With my daughter the pregnancy and the IVF drugs triggered RA and/or Crohn's. I just wondered therefore whether people are diagnosed with Crohn's with symptoms of joint pain/stiffness and weightloss. Kate was back in her pre-pregnancy clothes directly after giving birth and only put weight on over her tummy area. I didn't know about the biopsy. She has had a colonoscopy which was done after she lost weight when on the elilmination diet.

Food elimination DOES help with Kate's joint pain. She finds that acidic foods (tomatoes and red meat in her case) cause her stiffness. However, because she was losing too much weight cutting out lots of other foods she gave up. She also found out she had joint damage so has taken the easy route. She has found lately that eating tomatoes and cheese inadvertently say in a takeaway, causes joint pain. I have heard of the SC Diet with regard to RA. Diet is obviously the way to go with both diseases as they are both autoimmune.

Re. Humira. Do doctors stop prescribing it after several months of normal blood tests? It worries me as I have seen lawsuits against it in the USA. I would have thought that if a patient appears to be in remission that they would stop the Humira. I am hoping for that!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 1/18/2011 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Humira doesn't induce remission thus allowing the patient to stop taking the medicine. Actually, just the opposite. If your daughter were to take Humira (or another biologic like remicade or Cimzia) and it worked then the doctor would most likely keep her on the medicine. I don't know much about the lawsuits you mentioned, but here in the U.S. there are lawsuits for just about every drug on the market. Nothing is perfect, but it has a good success rate for a lot of people, so it might be worth a try if her arthritis is that bad.
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