Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect almost any part of the body, including the gastrointestinal (GI) system. The GI system is your body’s pathway for taking in, processing, and disposing of everything you eat and drink. Everything you swallow goes from your mouth to your esophagus in your throat, on through your stomach to your intestines, and then to your colon, ending at your urinary tract or rectum. Muscle contractions control swallowing and bowel movement.
People with lupus may be affected by problems in any area of the GI system, including the surrounding organs such as the liver, the pancreas, the bile ducts, and the gallbladder. Not all of these problems will be directly related to lupus disease activity; some may be traced to side effects of medication you take or other diseases that may be present. Gastroenterologists are the physicians who specialize in the GI system.