Effects of autoimmune diseases on your gut
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks and harm the body`s own tissues. Systemic autoimmune diseases can cause a variety of gastrointestinal manifestations. Gastrointestinal manifestations may be the initial presentation of systemic autoimmune disease or a complication of treatment. CLICK HERE!
Systemic Lupus Erythematous
SLE is a chronic disease of immunologic abnormalities that causes tissue damage. Vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) is the most important feature of this disorder and lead to ischemia (restriction in blood supply to tissue) which is responsible for many gastrointestinal manifestations. Strictures may develop in cases where the ischemia progresses slowly.
Treatments include NSAID`s, corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, chloroquine and methotrexate.
Any part of the gastrointestinal tract may become involved in SLE. Lupus enteritis refers to gastrointestinal lesions in SLE. The most common area of involvement is the oral cavity and patients may develop mucosal ulcers in the hard palate, buccal mucosa or the vermilion border. Patients may also have decreased salivation. Esophageal and gastric vasculitis can result in ulceration and perforation. Other intestinal abnormalities in SLE include dysmotility and malabsorbtion. Infections from Candidae, CMV and Herpes symplex can develop more easily due to immunosuppressive therapy that these patients receive. Peptic ulcer disease and diverticular disease are also common in patients treated with NSAID`s and corticosteroids.
RA is an autoimmune disease with chronic symmetric polyarthritis due to persistent inflammatory synovitis.
Gastrointestinal symptoms are mostly due to drug therapy, especially NSAID`s. 50% of patients on these drugs have chronic gastritis or peptic ulcer disease. A lesser frequency of vasculitis may occur in RA; however necrotizing vasculitis of the mesenteric vessels may result in ischemic ulcers, perforation and necrosis of the large and small bowel. Inflammation of the colon may be accompanied by a subepitheleal collagen band which cannot allow adequate water resorption resulting in diarrhea, flatulance and weight loss.
Sjögren`s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder where the body`s immune system attacks exocrine organs and secretory glands. Patients with Sjögren`s syndrome frequently experience dry mouth and dysphagia due to decrease in saliva production and abnormal esophageal motility. Other gastrointestinal manifestations include jejunitis, sigmoiditis and inflammatory bowel disease. Patients with Sjörgens may also be at increased risk for developing lymphomas, including MALT lymphoma of the stomach.
Bechet`s disease is an autoimmune disease that results from damage to bloodvessels, particulary veins, throughout the body. Bechet`s disease causes inflammation and ulceration throughout the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. Gastrointestinal involvement causes nausea, abdominal pain, anorexia and bloody diarrhea.
Ref: Maedica a journal of clinical medicine volume 6 no1.2011
Lewin,Weinstein and Riddell`s Gastrointestinal Pathology and its clinical implications. Chapter 8