IBS/Rosacea/Joint Inflammation/Menstrual Cycle - IBS Network

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IBS/Rosacea/Joint Inflammation/Menstrual Cycle

nadi_1 profile image

I have had IBS symptoms for as long as I can remember but always thought it was a result of my menstrual cycle so just accepted it as bad luck (as I'm sure a lot of women do!). I recently found this very interesting article relating to the connection between IBS and Menstruation here..


Then 4 years ago I developed joint problems (swelling in knuckles etc) and rosacea. The NHS treated them as entirely separate problems, even though they developed simultaneously- and even then they only treated the symptoms. I told the doctors about my digestive problems and that I was sure I suffered from IBS but they never linked anything together holistically. The dermatologist even laughed at me when I said I was trying to adapt my diet to see if it would help with my rosacea, saying rosacea is not linked to diet (even though it originates from a gut bacteria!!)

I am almost certain that the rosacea and joint issues are all linked to my Gut.

Regarding the rosacea- I took the antibiotics for a long time and applied the topical creams. I think it helped at first but with the second major flare up I had these methods seemed much less effective. I'm pretty sure the antibiotics also made my IBS worse.

In the end I stopped taking the antibiotics after several months of no joy. Instead I tried diet changes- I cut out gluten and dairy and my skin got a bit better.

I recently started on low fodmaps- I'm not sure if it's helped my IBS yet as it's early days, and I think my skin is worse but this could be where I am in my cycle.

It really is a nightmare trying to unpick cause and effect!

If anyone else has found links between menstrual cycles/rosacea and IBS I'd be very interested to hear.

Thanks so much.

15 Replies

Hi - I have been a rosacea sufferer for 40 years and have always had problems with my bowels - but never diagnosed with IBS. I have struggled over the years to keep my rosacea under control using the usual round of creams and pills. After a recent flare up that I just couldn't control I set about in earnest to research it. There is so much information out there, some if it rubbish no doubt, but a common theme that kept comkng through was digestive health and inflammation. Eventually I visited a nutritionist whe explained if your gut is inflamed then it will manifest in other parts of your body. I now follow a low inflammation diet, take digestive enzgmes, probiotics, omega 3 and 6 and my skin has never been better. It took about 3 months for me to notice the changes but I have been off all medication for about 9 months. Hormones can play a part which is why you need a holisticapproach and sadly you wo 't get that via the NHS. The chap Isaw was a naturopath and nutritionist and he literally saved my life. And my bowel oroblems are no lo ger with me either. Try it - you havd nothinb to lose save a bit of mo ey. Good luck.

Which enzymes and probiotics do you take? (I've tried so many.)

Probiotic 7 from holland and barrett, nutrigest from nutri. Try researching low inflammatory foods - a real eye opener!

Thank you - really helpful.

Oh and another thing - don't drink anything with food, dont' eat within 20 minutes of drinking and don't drink until 40 minutes after eating - apparently dilutes the digestive acids. I find this quite tricky but if you can do it mostly then that should help. Good luck.

nadi_1 profile image
nadi_1 in reply to Ladynorth

Wow, I had never heard of this. Ok will give that a go too. I often drink tepid lemon water or cooled black tea with my meals as I'd heard ingesting liquid at the same temperature aided digestion. But after eating pretty much anything I bloat, and my face always seem to flush heavily after every meal (and especially if eating hot carbs like rice!)- I'll see if this method helps.

Thanks again

Ladynorth profile image
Ladynorth in reply to nadi_1

Sorry to keep bothering you - I was also advised to chew food at least 20 times and we shouldn't swallow anything bigger than half a grain of rice - now thats tough but the side effect is that you don't eat so much and I've actually lost weight so win win all round..

nadi_1 profile image
nadi_1 in reply to Ladynorth

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. This is all very interesting and helpful stuff. I have since looked into anti inflammatory foods and am adapting it to fit in with the low fodmap diet I'm currently on. I have also just purchased cod liver oil tablets for the omega 3 and stocked up on tinned salmon. I think I'll do that for a bit before starting on the enzymes and probiotics as I think it's always good to stagger diet changes and I know it may be a period of trial and error to get the right ones. I'll see how I get on. Thank you so much again for you help.

I'm so glad to hear you are much better.

Is the link right? The page was not available.

nadi_1 profile image
nadi_1 in reply to AfricanSheila

Sorry about that, try this..


I suffer from IBS-D and have rosacea. FODMAPS solved most of my issues, but around once a month I get a major IBS flare up and painful joints - I'm 34 and all my major joints ache to the point that I have trouble walking and getting dressed. I've also been having episcleritis with these events. Makes me think autoimmune - I'm waiting to see a specialist. I think all these things are more connected than we think. Never thought to keep track of my menstraul cycle - I'll have to keep note of that as well.

nadi_1 profile image
nadi_1 in reply to runswithdogs

Yes I'm sure these things are linked. They are are all inflammation related complaints. The hardest thing is often unpicking the cause and effect (i.e. which are symptoms and which are the root problem). I am certainly no health specialist and have simply been doing online research but I've noticed many people say that poor gut health is often the root of other problems. But hormone imbalance also seem to be an underlying theme for gut sensitivities. This is where I'm most confused. Yes it might be worth tracking your symptoms along side your cycle to see if you unearth any patterns or links that may help- this is what I'm starting to do too.

The doctor initially thought my problems were auto immune because I developed a butterfly rash on my face and swollen joints at the same time- they tested me several times for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis before deciding it wasn't autoimmune. I have now been told these symptoms are not linked and that the joint swelling in my hands is reynoids syndrome and the rash on my face is rosacea, and the fact that they developed at once is just a coincidence. I'm a little sceptical of things that are 'just a coincidence', hence looking further into the relationships both these problems have with gut health.

Do you think your rosacea cleared up as a result of the low fodmaps? Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

runswithdogs profile image
runswithdogs in reply to nadi_1

I haven't noticed a difference in my rosacea to be honest. But I'm not as vigilant with the sunscreen and I still eat spicy foods. I should take some baseline photos of my face on good days so I have something to compare it to when I have a bad IBS flare...

I should also add I'm skeptical of coincidences. And that I could be suffering from so many independent things.

Hi, I suffered from IBS, then rosacea then random bruising, then joint pain, then migraines...I got tested for food allergies. I did not have a gluten allergy, but I found out I have other food allergies-peanuts, pecans, bananas. I was eating these almost every day. My allergist put me on an elimination diet. I had never felt so great! I'm no longer on the elimination diet, but I have cut out peanuts, pecans, and bananas and I feel great. No IBS, no rosacea, no random bruising, no migraines. I still have joint pain, but that is unrelated to my diet (or so I believe). Sometimes during my cycle I have joint pain in my SI joint. I'm still working on that, but physical therapy has helped. I do notice if I have an upset stomach, because occasionally that happens, my face is inflamed as if I have rosacea. So, there is definitely a link between my digestive health and my bright red face! When I spoke to my dermatologist about the food allergies, she was very receptive. She acknowledged the fact that food allergies can contribute to rosacea and a whole host of other ailments that people don't usually link to food. Hope my experiences help.

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