What are Crohn’s and Colitis?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis belong to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is important to note that Crohn’s disease is not the same thing as ulcerative colitis. The symptoms of these two illnesses are quite similar, but the areas affected in the GI tract are different.

For example, Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, or large intestine.

Crohn’s disease can also affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall, while ulcerative colitis only involves the innermost lining of the colon. And, in Crohn’s disease, the inflammation of the intestine can skip — leaving normal areas in between patches of diseased intestine. In ulcerative colitis this does not occur.

By gaining a better understanding of Crohn’s disease and/or ulcerative colitis, you will be more prepared to manage symptoms and live a full life. We are here to help provide support, information and disease management for these conditions.

Signs and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

While symptoms vary from person to person and some may be more common than others, the tell-tale symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)

Even if you think you are showing signs of Crohn’s disease symptoms, only proper testing performed by a qualified doctor can render a diagnosis. We provide comprehensive diagnostic services to help you get a clear picture of your digestive health. If diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, we will develop a treatment and management plan that’s right for you.

Signs and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body’s immune system. With this chronic condition, the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.

About half of all patients with ulcerative colitis experience mild symptoms. Be sure to consult a physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • bowel movements become looser and more urgent
  • persistent diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain and blood in the stool
  • stool is generally bloody
  • crampy abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite and/or weight loss
  • fatigue/low energy

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis tend to come and go. These periods of remission can span months or even years, although symptoms do eventually return. The unpredictable course of ulcerative colitis can make effective treatment difficult, but our staff is trained to help you manage and live an active life with the condition.

Microscopic colitis, unlike ulcerative colitis, is an inflammation of the bowel that is only visible using a microscope. Microscopic colitis is less severe than other types of IBD because it does not lead to cancer and rarely requires surgery. However, microscopic colitis can cause considerable pain and discomfort. If you are diagnosed with microscopic colitis, we will work to treat you quickly and comprehensively.