Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) can be very difficult for the affected. However, there may not be much common knowledge surrounding bowel disorders, as they can be embarrassing for people to talk about. However, having the right knowledge is important to manage the conditions appropriately and have a good quality of life. This post will look at Ulcerative Colitis vs Crohn’s Disease, two common bowel diseases.
We’ll talk about how each disease presents itself, including symptoms, diagnosis, and how they differ from each other.
Ulcerative Colitis vs Crohn’s Disease
Both ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease are characterized by chronic digestive tract inflammation. However, while both inflammatory bowel diseases mimic each other’s symptoms, they have some differences.
Ulcerative colitis occurs mainly in the colon and the rectum, while Crohn’s disease can occur in any area of the digestive tract. Stool may look porridge-like with Crohn’s disease, while people living with ulcerative colitis may have a bloody, mucus-like stool. The feeling of tenesmus, which feels like one cannot completely empty the bowels, is common with Ulcerative Colitis, but less so with Crohn’s Disease.
People with Crohn’s disease can experience difficulty metabolizing fats and carbohydrates, leading to weight loss being a common symptom. However, this does not happen with Ulcerative Colitis, except if the disease has progressed and become very severe.
The diagnostic criteria for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis also differ. For example, UC has a more continuous inflammation area, while Crohn’s disease has patches of inflammation. However, diagnosis can be challenging, with many tests required to diagnose UC or Crohn’s disease with certainty.
The exact cause of these diseases is not known, although research is ongoing.
Management or Treatment Options
For Crohn’s disease, there is no cure. However, the disease is entirely manageable with medication and lifestyle adjustments as needed. Crohn’s disease goes into remission and reoccurs in periods of relapse. These relapses can be prevented and controlled as they occur. On the other hand, Ulcerative colitis is treated according to the severity of the disease, and the approach is to maintain remission once acute symptoms are alleviated.
The first step in treatment is the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. They can induce remission and may be used for a short period. In conjunction, immunosuppressants may be prescribed. These target your immune system and reduce the substances that cause inflammation. Other medications include antidiarrheals, vitamins, antibiotics, and pain relievers.
Your doctor may also make dietary changes to allow the bowel to rest and reduce the size and frequency of stool. Your doctor may prescribe a liquid or low-fiber diet.
The right combination of medications and dietary changes can make life much easier for the affected. Indeed, people with inflammatory bowel diseases can live healthy, normal lives while managing their conditions.
We hope this post has been useful in helping you learn more about ulcerative colitis vs Crohn’s disease. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have an inflammatory bowel disease, do not hesitate to contact a qualified gastrointestinal specialist.
At the Gastroenterology Diagnostic Center, we have significant experience in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. If you’d like to schedule a consultation with our board-certified gastroenterologists, please give us a call at (281) 357-1977. We will be happy to help you enhance your quality of life.