Research suggests that there is a link between psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which both involve inflammation. However, a person with PsA may experience symptoms related to the GI tract without developing IBD.
PsA is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints. It develops in about 30% of people with psoriasis and can cause symptoms such as loss of range of motion, stiffness, swelling, fatigue, and more.
IBD is the term for a group of conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract causes IBD. The symptoms can include diarrhea, bloody stools, abdominal pain, and fatigue.
This article discusses what researchers know about PsA and bowel problems.
Review articles from
In a 2017 study, researchers found a link between PsA and an increased risk of Crohn’s disease. However, the findings revealed no increased risk of ulcerative colitis.
Anyone who has PsA and develops symptoms in their bowels should let their doctor know so that they can test for the presence of IBD.
People with both psoriasis and IBD may benefit from certain treatments that doctors use for both conditions. These treatments include:
- Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors
biologics immunomodulators, which include mesalamine, thiopurines, tacrolimus, and cyclosporine, in refractory disease
PsA inflammation can affect several areas of the body, including the organs and other tissue.
Skin and nails
Uveitis is a rare inflammatory disease that affects a person’s eyes and eyesight. It occurs in about
Other possible eye-related complications include conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and scleritis, among other inflammatory conditions.
It can be difficult to predict which symptoms will be the most stressful or painful for someone living with PsA, as the severity of the symptoms can vary among individuals.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, some common symptoms of PsA include:
- tender, painful, or swollen tendons
- reduced range of motion
- nail pitting or separation
- swelling in the toes and fingers
- joint swelling, stiffness, pain, throbbing, or tenderness
- stiffness in the morning
- pain or redness in the eyes
The severity of psoriasis does not directly affect the severity of PsA. In other words, a person may find that their PsA symptoms are mild compared with their psoriasis symptoms or vice versa.
Diarrhea is not among the common symptoms of PsA. However, it is a common symptom of IBD.
A person with PsA who develops severe or recurring diarrhea should talk with their doctor about their symptoms. Testing can help identify or eliminate the presence of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
PsA shares a link with IBD, as both conditions involve chronic inflammation, which can affect several parts of the body.
Anyone with PsA who develops diarrhea or other IBD symptoms should talk with their doctor. They should also let their doctor know if they develop additional symptoms in their eyes, skin, or other parts of the body. Treating PsA can help prevent complications and disease progression.