Hashimoto’s disease, lichen planus, and lupus

While many autoimmune diseases are known to be associated with one another (take celiac disease and type I diabetes, for example), few reports exist in the literature documenting what is termed “Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome,” whereby an individual patient manifests three or more autoimmune diseases at the same time.  In fact, it is commonly asserted, though not conclusively shown (in my humble opinion), that multiple autoimmune syndrome is rare. 

I do not believe that this is accurate. In my limited experience, it seems to me that multiple autoimmunity is actually quite common, particularly in individuals with documented food sensitivities, such as celiac disease/gluten intolerance. When gluten, and other food, sensitivities exist, the gut becomes leaky and allows foodstuffs, bacteria, and other pathogens to pass the intestinal barrier, where they can be detected by the immune system.  While everyone likely harbors “self-reactive” immune cells, not everyone mounts an autoreactive immune response, like people with autoimmune disease do.  Pathogen (food, bacteria, or otherwise) encounter by the immune system in the gut delivers inflammatory signals, that may then lead to the activation and response of autoreactive immune cells.  In fact, current data suggests that all autoimmune diseases may begin in the gut.

Because of the supposed rarity of multiple autoimmune syndrome, my favorite articles are case studies of individuals with multiple autoimmunity. In the case reported here, a 24-year-old female presents with lichen planus (a suspected autoimmune disease), lupus (a known autoimmune disease), and hashimoto’s thyroiditis (also called autoimmune hypothyroidism), and to date, it is the first association of it’s kind.


6 thoughts on “Hashimoto’s disease, lichen planus, and lupus

  1. Good day! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. I was diagnoised with Lichen Planus about 6 mos ago, also tested high for Lupus. Have been on synthyroid fro hypothyroidism for about 15 yrs. Very worried and do not know what to do next. Please help with any information you might have to help.

  3. I agree I don’t believe it is rare to have multiple autoimmune disorders at one time. I have narcolepsy (which some suspect to be an autoimmune disease) alone with hashimotos, and psoriasis. Currently trying to find a doctor that will be able to address all three issues at the same time. Looking for a more holistic approach. Any advice or information would be helpful.

  4. Totally agree…can’t be “rare” because I too have multiple autoimmune diagnosis: Hashimoto’s, Sarcoidosis, Discoid Lupus and a possible one of Polymyositis. Often wonder where to seek medical help that has a grasp on the interconnectedness of autoimmune diseases.

  5. Great article
    I have Lupus & Sjogrens. There are many autoimmune issues in my family such as celiac, and some other autoimmune issues. My big issue now is that I am suffering from two things, GI issues, and I have Lichen Planus, or so the doctors say. They are stating it is not from my autoimmune disorders. I am suffering so from the skin peeling inside of my mouth and gums. Saw two doc’s and two periodontics’. Also an oral pathologist who stated I had a normal mouth !!!!!!
    Any advice would be appreciated. I have also been using some mouth washes and creams that were prescribed for me, no results.
    Thank You in Advance for any help you can give me 🙁

  6. Pingback: Do Hashimoto Lupus Go Hand in Hand?

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