Can’t quite put your finger on it?

What Causes Lupus?

As with many autoimmune diseases, and many chronic diseases, an exact cause of lupus is not known. Wouldn’t it be so nice and easy to just finger one item and say this was it!?

Life is never that simple.

Most people cannot identify the triggers, or cause for their lupus. It is very difficult to determine, science hasn’t even figured it out yet, but there are many suspected triggers (discussed below).

I have narrowed down a timeframe and possible triggers related to my onset of lupus. My symptoms began around age 15. In looking back over the years, as well as continued monitoring of my disease and testing I have concluded the following:

1-    Infection: I had infection after infection related to tonsillitis. I eventually had my tonsils removed when I was 14 years old.

2-    Sulfa Drugs & Antibiotics: During the course of treatment prior to removal and following removal of my tonsils, I was given round after round of antibiotics and drugs – some sulfa drugs. I also have had reactions to penicillin and amoxicillian (suspected triggers of flares and/or onset).

3-    Genetics: I didn’t know until the last year that I have some genes related to development of inflammatory diseases. After being tested by my rheumatologist, I was told about this genetic marker. Although nobody else in my immediate family has lupus, an uncle of mine does have an autoimmune disease.

4-    Hormones: Being female (estrogen).

Medical Experts think some causes might be:


There is not a known set of genes or genetics that causes lupus for certain.  There are studies that suggest that genetics may play a role in the possible development of lupus. 1


Although genes may increase a chance at development of lupus, it does take an environmental trigger to actually develop the disease, or trigger a flare.1

• UV sun rays
• UV rays from fluorescent lighting
• Sulfa drugs
• Sun-sensitizing tetracycline drugs
• Penicillin or other antibiotics
• an infection
• viral illness
• exhaustion
• injury
• emotional stress (emotional of physical)

Many people cannot identify the trigger of their illness, although I have narrowed mine down.


Estrogen seems to play a large role in disease fluctuation. More women than men have lupus, and flares and disease changes seem to occur during life changes related to estrogen levels.1


  • 1-    Lupus Foundation.
    2-    The Lupus Bool. Daniel J. Wallace, MDCan’t