Anyone have GI symptoms as precursor to diagnosis?

Hi All - wondering if anyone has had symptoms of both bloating and GI gassiness both in stomach and intestines as a precursor to the GCA? My GCA came on very suddenly in Feb 2016, but prior to onset, I recalled I had unusual gassiness for about 4 weeks prior which I had been trying a lot of different over the counter meds for. Then the GCA hit and I forgot about it until months later as it never recurred. I've been off pred now since April about 4 months now despite one flare 7/16. I feel ok, not sick but my labs 2 weeks ago showed ESR going up to 37 (always was 15 range once treated), and now this week that same gassiness is starting again, there all the time. Likely no correlation, and still not too worried as no other symptoms, but thought I would see if anyone else noticed anything similar prior to their onset or diagnosis? Thanks!!

8 Replies

  • Sandy52 don't ignore bloating especially if linked with constipation. I was recently diagnosed with cancer following these symptoms.

  • oh my..prayers are out for you!! Appreciate your sharing and words of caution. Take care!

  • Hello

    Not sure if you could draw any meaningful associations - but I have found since being on Pred (7 months now and currently still on 17mg as tapering from higher doses for GCA) - that my digestion has been dramatically better than it as for years prior. I had what they called 'irritable bowel' for ages and it has been a very strange but welcome situation that it seems to have disappeared since I have taken steroids. I have in fact been able to eat spicy food, lots of chillies, cabbage and things like onion and garlic - and lots of raw food - which I would always crave for but imbibing often produced nasty consequences. Anyway I hope things improve for you soon.

    Best wishes

  • Did you have a PET-CT or PET-MRI done originally? If you have large vessel vasculitis (GCA is part of the family) it can affect arteries in your chest and abdomen and cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Which lazy GPs might well dismiss as "just IBS"...

    IBS should, like PMR, be a diagnosis of exclusion - all that's left after any other options have been ruled out. Needless to say - they often aren't.

  • Thanks for the insight PMRpro! No, with original workup they did CT of abd/chest but not PET or MRI which from this site I hear is the most valuable with picking up on arteritis abnormalities. They did an ultrasound of the heart too - but doubt that would have shown evidence. I will keep all this in mind as I stay alert to any possible symptoms of return or needs for next steps. Much appreciated!

  • I have GI symptoms also. I have had GCA for over five years and have noticed a correlation between the two. Because I have suffered from intestinal discomfort all my adult life , I cannot really place the blame on my autioimmune illness but I do notice flarups at the same time . That probably is no help to you...just an observation. When I mention it to my rhuemy....her reply .." we have no time to be concerned with that " . I also discovered that the pantaprazole affected me after a period of time, when I went to the coated prednisone I have been much better.

  • Thank you for taking the time to share! it's definitely helpful

  • Sandy52 - Not as a precursor, but raging heartburn triggered by any starch. It stayed for a few months & started around a year after I started Prednisone. It disappeared fairly suddenly for no apparent reason. My only eating problems are jaw-related now, thanks to GCA trying to get a hold. As a result, my dose has had to go up.

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