Difference Between Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis

Difference Between Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis

Difference Between Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammatory bowel diseases are quite common in people. And many people do not know that there are many varieties of this disease. Two of the most common variants include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In both the problems, there are many common symptoms and hence people are not able to distinguish one from the other. There are stomach cramps which might continue for weeks, there is constant urge to run to the bathroom now and then, one feels exhausted and fatigued and most importantly there is problem of weight loss. Basically there is inflammation in the digestive system and this is a long-term affair. However, there are many differences in the two diseases as well. And these have to be understood so that the right kind of treatment can be provided as per the problem.

Differences Between Crohn’s Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis

It has been discussed again and again about the similarities of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The body’s immune system responds in an abnormal manner to both the conditions. In any kind of inflammatory bowel disease, there is abnormal response from the immune system. Whatever enters the gastrointestinal tract is attacked whether it is good or bad. Generally, without treatment, the digestive system can face long-term damage. There are also major risks of various kinds of complications taking place from these irritable bowel diseases if treatment is not adhered to at the right time.

  • Area of Distribution of the Diseases:

    Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s colitis are caused due to inflammation in the GI tract. But the area of inflammation of the diseases is different. Crohn’s disease can span through the entire GI tract, right from the esophagus to the anus, ulcerative colitis is mainly concentrated in the colon area. Once this difference is understood, providing the right kind of treatment is possible.

  • Radiology Findings:

    In radiology findings in Crohn’s disease, strictures are commonly seen. There is asymmetrical inflammation and deep fistulae and fissures are seen for sure. However, in case of ulcerative colitis symmetrical inflammation patterns are seen. Along with this, the occurrence of fissures and strictures is less common in ulcerative colitis.

  • Smoking:

    When it comes to smoking, ulcerative colitis is associated to ex-smokers as well as non-smokers. Infact strangely smoking tends to provide protection against the disease. On the other hand, for Crohn’s disease smoking is a dominant reason and strongly associated with the same. Smokers can face really bad phase of the disease if they are suffering from Crohn’s disease. Chances of surgery are also increased for the disease with smoking.

  • Clinical Appearance:

    In case of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, the person will mainly have a lean and thin appearance and look malnourished at the same time. This is because of intestinal mal-absorption of nutrients in the body. The presence of abdominal mass is common in most patients suffering from Crohn’s disease along with diarrhea with blood.On the other hand, patients suffering from ulcerative colitis will face severe weight loss, particularly when the disease has reached an aggravated stage. Abdominal mass is uncommon and bloody diarrhea can be seen.

  • Endoscopy Findings:

    Endoscopy findings vary for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In UC, the rectum is highly affected with uniform inflammation. The bowel wall appears to be thin in ulcerative colitis with loss of vascular pattern. The blood vessels are not visible.

On the other hand for Crohn’s disease the rectum does not see grave effects in most of the cases. There is inflammation, but it is not continuous. Thickness is seen in the bowel wall and it comes with a cobblestone appearance. There are swelling and deep ulcers in the tissue and hence the appearance.

Seeking Opinion from the Best Gastroenterologist in Chennai

Irritable bowel disease must be rectified before the problem aggravates to great extent and starts impacting normal life and activities. In case you face any symptoms which are close to IBD, it is recommended to seek consultation from the best gastroenterologist in Chennai and follow his advice in the best manner. Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can be kept under complete control and even be cured if they are diagnosed and treated at the right time.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad