Difference Between Crohns and Colitis

You have to keep running to the toilet after eating. You’re having stomach cramps for over a week now. You feel exhausted and lose weight but don’t know what’s going on.


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It might be IBD, inflammatory bowel disease. But which one? You’re confused because Crohn’s and colitis have a lot of things similar, but they do have some differences that influence their treatment.

Crohns vs Colitis

The difference between Crohn’s and Colitis is that Crohn’s disease has unaffected areas between the affected parts while, in Ulcerative Colitis, no healthy parts can be found between the inflamed areas. When the body is affected by Crohn’s disease, inflammation can be seen anywhere from the mouth to the cavity in the digestive tract while only the large intestine is affected due to colitis.

Crohns vs Colitis

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Crohn’s disease is a type of IBD that gets the digestive tract inflamed; leading to abdominal issues and pain, malnutrition, exhaustion, weakness, and extreme diarrhea.

The inflammation that is caused by Crohn’s disease, involves different spots in the digestive tract. This disease can be painful and weakening and may lead to severe complications that can be dangerous for life.

Whereas Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); that affects the digestive tract causing sores and inflammation.

The inner lining of the large intestine and the rectum is affected by colitis. Colitis may be debilitating and sometimes create complications that can be life-threatening. Some medications help to reduce the symptoms, but can’t be healed completely.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCrohnsColitis
Location Inflammation can be seen anywhere in the digestive tract. Inflammation can be seen in the lining of the large intestine.
Inflammation Inflammation occurs in a series of patches. Inflammation occurs throughout the area.
Pain  Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen.
Appearance The colon wall will have a thick rocky appearance. The colon wall shows inflammation and is thinner.
Bleeding Bleeding from the rectum is not usually not seen. Bleeding with bowel movements is seen.

What is Crohns?

Crohn’s disease refers to the inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract and leads to stomach pain, severe diarrhea, tiredness, loss of weight, and malnutrition.

In Crohn’s disease, inflammation can be seen in different parts of the digestive tract and often spreads deep inside the bowel layers. This disease is painful as well as debilitating and can be fatal if not taken proper care of.

Though there is no treatment available to cure Crohn’s, the symptoms can be reduced through time-to-time therapies and can carry remission for the long term.

Many People suffering from Crohn’s can function well with proper treatment and medications. When a person has Crohn’s disease, any part of the digestive system is affected by inflammation. This disease is restricted only to the colon in some people.

Crohn’s disease develops gradually with the symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but sometimes, it appears suddenly without any signs. There are also times when a person having this disease does not show any signs at all.

The signs and symptoms of this disease include diarrhea, blood in stools, reduced appetite, along with inflammation of eyes, skin, and joints, or even in liver or bile ducts. People also suffer from kidney stones, anemia and children face delayed growth.

What is Colitis?

UC or Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that makes your digestive tract inflamed and causes sores or ulcers in the tract.

This disease affects the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum and the symptoms start to show late in life, rather than suddenly appearing.

Colitis may be weakening but sometimes causes life-threatening obstacles. Even though there is no cure available to fix this disease, proper treatment can help to reduce the symptom of UC in the body and carry long-term remission.

The symptoms of UC differ from person to person depending on how severe the inflammation is and which area it affects.

These signs and symptoms include serious diarrhea with traces of blood, pain in the stomach and cramps, rectal pain and bleeding, finding it difficult to hold stool, losing weight, fever, tiredness, and unable to grow height in children.

These symptom ranges from mild to moderate on a scale. The course of the medication also differs from person to person.

There are four sub-parts of UC, determined by professionals considering the location of the inflammation. The first one is Ulcerative proctitis, which is usually spotted near the cavity and rectal bleeding is its sign.

The second type is Proctosigmoiditis, which affects the rectum and lower end of the colon with bloody diarrhea as the sign.

The third in the list is Left-sided colitis that extends from the rectum through the colon and the last is Pancolitis, which affects the entire area of the colon.

Main Differences Between Crohns and Colitis

  1. Crohn’s disease affects anywhere in the digestive tract whereas, Colitis affects the large intestine.
  2. Inflammation is seen in patches pattern in Crohn’s disease, the inflammation is continuous in colitis.
  3. Crohn’s affects all the layers of the digestive tract while colitis affects the inner layer of the large intestine.
  4. Approx. 75% of people suffering from Crohn’s disease need surgery while 45% of people suffering from colitis required surgical treatment. 
  5. Crohn’s patients experience fistulas while UC patients experience bleeding during bowel movements.
  6. Crohn’s disease can often cause blockage in the system which can lead to colon cancer while colitis creates holes in the colon, liver infections, and blood clots.
Difference Between Crohns and Colitis
  1. https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1097-0142(19811215)48:12%3C2742::AID-CNCR2820481231%3E3.0.CO;2-P
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncpgasthep0528

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