While it is said that there is no “cause” of IBD, it is known that there are triggers that will exacerbate symptoms. Though I will never know for sure, I am convinced that my genetics and my long-term use of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) were the trigger to my ulcerative colitis.
When I was 18-months old, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. For most of my life, except for a few years while I was in remission, I was taking NSAIDS daily, twice per day. While at the time I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that, I now want to know what the heck my doctors were thinking keeping me on NSAIDS for so long!! I mean, it says right on the bottle that NSAID use can cause gastrointestinal effects, gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers! I could kick myself for not paying more attention to those warnings but when you’re young you think you are invincible and that nothing bad could ever happen to you. I understand the whole risks versus benefits thing, but you would think that risks like that would be paid a little more attention.
Another reason I think NSAIDS were a trigger for my IBD is because now that I have a J-pouch I am told to stay away from NSAIDS…for obvious reasons…because they can cause gastrointestinal problems! So, why was is okay for me to take NSAIDS for so many years when I had a colon but now that I don’t have a colon I need to avoid them like the plague?
I get that there is no use in dwelling on these facts. My only wish is that doctors who have patients on long-term NSAID use would consider the fact that there are side effects that could affect their patients for the rest of their lives. And I am sure there are many doctors who do. My intention is not to bash doctors. I just want those of you who may be taking NSAIDS to be aware of the side effects, educate yourself about the medications you are on, and talk to your doctors about the possibility of an alternative.