What is the Difference Between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?

Difference Between Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis

Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (which is sometimes abbreviated as UC) fall under the umbrella term of “inflammatory bowel disease,” and while they do share some things in common, they are actually distinct conditions from one another. Here is a look at the similarities between these two diseases, as well as an examination of just what makes them different.

Their Similarities

There is a considerable amount of overlap between symptoms of both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. These include bloody stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea (and the dehydration caused by it), and fatigue. Additionally, both conditions normally begin to develop during a person’s teenage years or young adulthood.

Treatments for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are also quite similar. Certain medications, like corticosteroids and mesalazine, have been proven to effectively reduce the inflammation caused by both diseases. Additionally, dietary changes have also show to be beneficial in reducing symptoms for both conditions—although the exact changes needed will vary depending on which one a person is suffering from.

Finally, while it’s likely that these diseases have different origins, their causes both remain unknown at this time.

Their Differences

One of the primary differences between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is the area of the digestive tract affected by the condition. With UC, inflammation occurs only in the colon, which is also known as the large intestine, and this uniformly affects only the topmost layers of cells. On the other hand, Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere along the digestive tract—from the mouth to the colon. Despite these many possibilities, most cases of Crohn’s are located within the small intestine.  Additionally, most cases of ulcerative colitis are less severe than Crohn’s, and patients normally experience longer remission periods with the first condition as well.

In severe cases of Crohn’s disease, patients may opt to have the affected portions of their digestive tract removed. However, this is not a possibility for ulcerative colitis patients, since this condition uniformly affects the entire colon.

Crohn’s Disease, is common called as inflammatory bowel disease, or regional enteritis, and/or Granulomatous ileocolitis disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, it also results a wide variety of symptoms.

Understanding Crohn’s Disease

The first causes or sign of this disease is abdominal pain, diarrhea , which may also lead to seeing blood in the stools if the condition is very serious, vomiting, or weight loss, sometimes if there is any evident seriousness in the disease it could also show signs like skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, tiredness, and lack of concentration. Crohn’s disease is understood to be an autoimmune disease, in which the disease can lead to complications in the intestines and also lead to, causing inflammation; therefore it is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease. There has also been clear evidence of a genetic link to Crohn’s disease; hence if direct family member has a history of Crohn’s disease you could likely to be getting it as well. Western countries report more cases of Crohn’s disease making this disease also included by certain lifestyle choices. Both men and women are known to be equally affected by Crohn’s disease, but smokers are more likely to get Crohn’s disease than non-smokers.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

The most common symptom of Crohn’s disease is abdominal pain that is very nonspecific and comes and goes. Diarrhea often accompanies the disease, with as many as fifteen bowel movements a day. Itching around the anus may occur as well. Flatulence and bloating are also common. In more severe disease, fistulas may form in the perianal area, causing fecal leakage. Vomiting, nausea, and crampy abdominal pain may also be seen in more advanced Crohn’s disease due to intestinal blockage from strictures. The inflammation from Crohn’s disease may also affect the rest of the body as well. Eye pain, due to uveitis, is not an uncommon symptom, as well as inflammatory arthritis. Fever may also occur as well. Oral nonhealing ulcers are also a not-so-uncommon complaint as well. Typically, the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease requires a procedure called an endoscopy, in which a camera is guided through the GI tract to visualize the disease. Often the disease is officially diagnosed in this way.

Treating Crohn’s disease

Medication and therapy can temporarily curb the disease but will not ensure full recovery. Even in cases where remission is possible, medications sometimes help for temporary stop of recurrence of Crohn’s disease symptoms, lifestyle changes and in some cases surgery. Adequately controlled, Crohn’s disease may not significantly restrict daily living. To begin proper or at least to ensure no relapse the treatment for Crohn’s disease involved thorough study of the symptoms, then maintaining remission. Today the possible way to ensure remission is medication and serious lifestyle alterations to achieve temporary treatment for Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s cannot be cured by surgery, though it is mostly used only when partial or a full blockage of the intestine in patients. Surgery may also be required for complications such as obstructions, fistulas and/or abscesses, or if the disease does not respond to drugs.

Featured Image Source: Thinkstock/AndreyPopov

Posted on May 5, 2023