Wednesday, August 3, 2011


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.


  1. Thank you, Dr. Martin. I am aware of not taking NSAIDS with j-pouch, but had no clue about its risks for people with colon. I thought it was okay as long as you take it with food. How about people with j-pouch who also have heart issues and asked to take one aspirin a day? Do you advice avoiding aspirin to prevent pouchitis?

  2. I would definitely avoid aspirin to prevent pouchitis, and in fact, have never heard of using aspirin to prevent pouchitis. I think the best thing to use to prevent pouchitis is probiotics. VSL#3 is a good one, although expensive, but any probiotic should be good. For people with a J-pouch and heart issues...that's a tricky one because it's kind of contradictory...people with J-pouches aren't supposed to take aspirin but people with heart issues are! I'd ask your doctor about that one :-) Thanks for commenting!

  3. I took NSAIDS for years because of a bad back and now I have UC, which I partly blame on them, but I guess I was prone to get UC as well (genetics)? I also believed it wouldn't happen to me, but it did. Now I take panadol, which doesn't even take the edge of a headache, so am trying other things like exercise and heat packs etc. I am not sick enough to need surgery, but it still impacts hugely on my life. It has been three years now, and I am still trying to wrap my head around the whole chronic illness idea.....I go from acceptance to annoyance, to self-pity, to despair and back to acceptance again. Not sure where I am at the moment, probably acceptance.