Ankylosing Spondylitis is an auto immune disease thought to be caused due to a combination of a person's genetic markers and immune systems "triggers". While studies are still being completed, I have compiled a list below of "triggers" that are thought to be associated with AS. I have listed all triggers by name, as they could be found, so it may appear some are duplicated.  However, due to the variance of diagnostic terminology, I thought it important to list them as referenced.


Allergic Reaction

Research is still being conducted to find the connection to allergic reactions and the immune systems response.

Bacterial infection

When the bacterial infection has left, a typical individuals immune system goes back to protect and Scan form, but in an individual distressed by AS, their immune system continues in the assault mode. This triggers tissues to grow to be inflamed. Other researchers believe that AS starts when the intestinal resistance breaks down, instigating bacteria to gain entry to the bloodstream, and after that to the joints mainly affected by this arthritis, the sacroiliac joints. Common Bacterial Infections include Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Mycobacterial & Yersinia.

Bowel Flora

The intestinal tract encourages the growth of a very beneficial bowel flora, a collection of microscopic organisms that live within our intestinal systems. They also help to activate and develop our immune system, while protecting us from dangerous parasites and other bacteria that effect our bodies.

Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS)

This is a pelvic pain condition in men, and should be distinguished from other forms of prostatitis such as chronic bacterial prostatitis and acute bacterial prostatitis. It is usually persistant for at least 3 months and may effect sexual functions due to pain related to ejaculation. This condition is also known as chronic non-bacterial prostatitis.


It is a disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.  It is most often a sexually transmitted disease and may not show any symptoms at all.


Colitis is swelling (inflammation) of the large intestine (colon).  Symptoms can include Abdominal bloating or pain, bloody stools, chills, a constant urge to have a bowel movement, fever, diarrhea, increased gas and dehydration.



Environmental effects are difficult to pin point since they can vary so greatly.

Gastrointestinal Disease

This includes all diseases that pertain to the gastrointestinal tract including diseases of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon and rectum.

Infection - (Often without Symptoms) Bowel, Gut

Reiter's Syndrome (which is related to AS) is triggered by a bowel / urinary infection. In a recent study, a rat which develops bowel inflammation, then develops AS. However,  if the rat is kept in a sterile environment it does not develop bowel disease or arthritis. Upon examination, 50% of people with AS also had inflammation or infection of the bowel (many without symptoms), as well.


The HLA-B27 gene and other genes are needed for the development of AS. [However, some people develop AS without the B27 gene i.e. in Kuwait and Lebanon only 25% of people with AS have the B27 gene compared to 95% in Europe]. The course of AS is extremely variable. Some people show very mild disease and others show very severe disease. It is though that some of this variation may be due to genetic differences.

Heavy Physical Activity

Heavy Physical Activity may increase the stress on the body, lower the immune system and opening it for infection or physically wearing on the body.  Research is still being conducted to look at the potential connection to physcial stress on the body and the immune system.

High Starch Diet

Some people have found relief with dietary changes to control the symptoms of AS, so research is now being conducted to find the connection to starchy foods and auto immune response.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest a specific sugar found in milk and other dairy products called lactose.

Leaky Gut

Is a chronic debilitating condition that occurs when the intestines are damaged.  Many doctors do not provide testing for leaky gut syndrome and it may be missed while looking for a diagnosis.


Measles is a very contagious illness caused by a virus that effects the respiratory system but is best known for the skin rash that accompanies it.


Sexually transmitted diseases are being researched for a connection to triggering auto immune disease.


Stress seems to be bad for the body all the way around.  Researchers are still looking at the connection between triggers, auto immune disease and stress.

Twins or Multiple Births

Studies show that in identical twins, both will have the disease 6 in 10 times.


For some women, pregnancy is said to be a trigger, as women begin to notice symptoms during pregnancy or after delivery.

Respiratory Infection

This can be a single infection or recurring infection of the upper or lower respiratory system including the lungs, sinuses, nose and other associated organs.


Urinary Tract Infections, especially when chronic or untreated are thought to be a trigger of AS.


Reactive Arthritis & Reiter's Syndrome have been reported after Hepatitis B Vaccination and Measles Vaccinations.

Viral Infections

Viral Infections may also be a trigger to auto immune diseases. There are many different viral diseases, so the haystack is very large to look through.


Add your "Trigger" to the List...!