Ankylosing spondylitis and stomach pain

Posted , 9 users are following.

Hi.just wondering if anyone ever had stomach problems related to AS? I'm a male, 37. Been diagnosed with AS about 5 years ago. Now 3 weeks ago i've got a pain which right in the stomach area, where the breastbone ends. It feels like something stuck in there, like a dull pain. Its there all the time and sometimes gets worse after eating. Apart of belching and a bit of gas, no other symptoms. Toilet side is all ok, no loss of apetite. Been to gp, full blood test ok. Prescribed Lansoprazole which didnt help at all.

Now after 3 weeks in pain it makes me wonder what could it be. Is it possible it could be related to AS?

Any reply is highly appreciated.


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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I'm also male and 37, I was diagnosed with AS about 5 years ago too (weird!).

    As AS is an auto immune condition, you can be prone to other conditions of this nature.  I'm Coeliac (extremely sensitive to Gluten) and I have issues with my stomach in general.  They've recently decided that it probably isn't Chrohns/inflammatory bowel (both auto immune) but that I definitely have stomach issues that are related to my AS.  

    I find my 3 conditions interact.  This was very confusing at first as I would have an AS flair up and it would affect my stomach giving me cramps and diarrhoea for a couple of weeks.  I think until I realised that they interacted, I found it difficult to manage.

    The position you described below your rip cage might be to do with gallbladder function, but I'm guessing like me you have an irritable bowel condition, and it can be very annoying and debilitating.  I would recommend 'buscopan' over other IBS treatments, however the main factor that has helped me has been to look at diet.

    I saw a dietitian who talked me through the importance of my 'digestive transit'.  Someone with IBS or other inflammatory bowel conditions can struggle to push the food through the digestive system, and also have issues with absorption of nutrients.  I've found it really helpful to keep a track on how often I eat, not leaving it too long between meals.  Anything more than 4/5 hours can make it uncomfortable to eat (if you have to leave it this long you're best to have a small easily digestable meal afterwards).  Once you eat more regularly, this can help (as long as you are eating the right things).

    There's a low FOD MAP diet that can be really useful for flair up periods (low starch), I'd recommend googling this.

    Anyway, hope this helps.  Good luck and I hope you get some relief from your symptoms


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  • Posted

    Ive always had IBS symptoms but it got much worse last year. They said it's gastritis but none of the meds helped. I eventually gave up gluten and dairy and that helped a lot but sometimes acidic foods cause problems too like coffee, tomatoes or chocolate.

    I'm looking into the no starch diet right now. My AS is currently mild but hoping with a few more small changes to my diet I can put it in remission.

    Stress is a big trigger for me so I try to practice mindfullness and I do yoga. I also take herbal supplements to help me sleep coz I find when I'm tired I stress..

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  • Posted

    Hi.  And yes. 

    I've has AS quite a while. 

    Doctors have mostly agreed that my upper GI/GERD (Reflux) troubles are a side effect from taking NSAIDS. However, inflammation could contribute. 

    I've used various methods to quiet acid production which included diet and lifestyle changes (esp.  no alcohol or smoking).

    OTC meds: antacids, ranitidine,  famotidine, and omeprazole.

    The first 20 years were very manageable with diet and occasional OTC help.  I would be fine long periods, with flares lasting days to a couple months.  Significant job stress made it much worse. 

    I've more recently moved on to trying different prescriptive meds, as it became more severe. 

    It's important to follow up with your physician and/or specialist to rule out more serious problems (ulcers or other conditions.) I've had various tests done over the years which have indicated no ulcers or other conditions.  

    Finally, I'll add that there are auto-immune digestive diseases that some of us get, like Crohn's Disease.  Tho, it's not common. 

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    • Posted

      Side note: I do have IBS and was diagnosed with it years before my AS diagnosis. However, the acid reflux has consistently been unrelated to the IBS in my case.  Mostly uncomfortable and a nuisance. The doctor handouts for reflux regarding diet and lifestyle have proven more valuable to me than any medication. 
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  • Posted

    Hi...I  developed that dull pain may want to ask your doctor for barium swallow test.  It determined that my esophageal muscles were not contracting normally which contributed to my gerd they said.    Gerd, by the way, has been determined to be autoimmune I am pretty sure.  It could also be a hiatal hernia in that region.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear of problems, l was diagnosed 50 years ago and long term use of anti-inflammatories has given me many stomach problems, but A.S. can throw up many surprises so get yourselve checked, best wishes
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  • Posted

    Hi, I have AS and have a few digestive issues, ten years ago I had a stomach ulcer due to taking NSAIDS, these were prescribed for pain, I also have a hiatus hernia,Lanzoprozole doesn't work for me, I find slippery elm powder taken as a milky drink before bed helps me, also regular exercise and low carb diet , poor quality sleep doesn't help my digestive system so I take Valerian before bed , I drink around eight pints of water too.

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  • Posted


    I've had Acid Reflux since about 2000, but it got really bad about two months ago. No amount of PPis will stop it. I just had another endoscopy, but they said my esophagus looks fine. Does not feel fine. I don't have heartburn, it just feels like I have an alien living in my chest. I have a hiatus hernia and took NSAIDs for many years before I was forced to stop due to Kidney disease.  I also have Diverticulosis.

    I did not get diagnosed with A.S. until about 5 years ago, but I've had it for about 30 years based on my symptoms. I have a few issues they can't explain, bladder issues, kidney issues, lung issues (scarring (lower lungs), elevated diaphragm and Asthma), abdominal distention when I eat. I also have low iron, but that could be the PPIs.

    I've been on Humira for about a year, but it has not helped because of the duration of my disease, my age, no HLA-B27 gene and no active inflammation. Good article here: .  

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