Crohns vs Colitis: Difference and Comparison

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

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

Key Takeaways

  1. Crohn’s disease affects any part of the gastrointestinal tract, while ulcerative colitis targets only the colon and rectum.
  2. Symptoms of Crohn’s can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss, while colitis primarily causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
  3. Treatment approaches for both conditions may involve medication, diet modification, and surgery, but the specific methods vary depending on the severity and location of the inflammation.

Crohns vs Colitis

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis (UC) only affects the colon (large intestine) and always starts at the rectum, moving up the colon in a continuous pattern, causing inflammation in the inner lining of the colon and rectum.

Crohns vs Colitis

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

The inflammation that is caused by Crohn’s disease involves different spots in the digestive tract. This disease can be painful and weakening, leading to severe complications that can be dangerous to 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 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 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 diarrhoea, tiredness, loss of weight, and malnutrition.

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

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

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 symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but sometimes, it appears suddenly without any signs. There are also times when a person with this disease does not show any signs.

The signs and symptoms of this disease include diarrhoea, 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 and anaemia, and children face delayed growth.

What is Colitis?

UC, or Ulcerative Colitis, is an inflammatory bowel disease that inflames your digestive tract 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.

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These signs and symptoms include serious diarrhoea with traces of blood, pain in the stomach and cramps, rectal pain and bleeding, difficulty holding stool, losing weight, fever, tiredness, and inability to grow height in children.

This 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 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 diarrhoea as the sign.

The third in the list is Left-sided colitis which 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, and 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 require surgical treatment. 
  5. Crohn’s patient’s experience fistulas, while UC patients experience bleeding during bowel movements.
  6. Crohn’s disease can 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

Last Updated : 21 June, 2023

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6 thoughts on “Crohns vs Colitis: Difference and Comparison”

  1. An incredibly informative article that brings to light many unknowns about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The comparison table was a great visual aid to differentiate the symptoms and treatments of both diseases. I feel deeply enlightened and grateful for this expanded knowledge.

  2. Undoubtedly, Crohn’s and colitis are intricate diseases, and this article does an exceptional job of shedding light on their symptoms and differences. A commendable piece of work that will aid those looking to comprehend these afflictions in greater detail.

  3. An in-depth analysis of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, going beyond the surface to offer comprehensive insights into these conditions. The exploration of their manifestations, diagnosis, and management brings great value to readers. Further, the comparison table is an illustrative tool that greatly benefits understanding the contrast between the two diseases.

  4. Absolutely insightful! The comparison table was particularly helpful in understanding the differences between Crohn’s and colitis. If we can break down such complex subjects into an easy-to-digest format, I believe it will significantly benefit those seeking to comprehend these diseases better.

  5. Considering the complexity of the subject matter, this article did an excellent job of simplifying the differences between Crohn’s and colitis. It is enlightening for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of these illnesses.

  6. Interesting piece, however, it seems to lack the emotional aspect of people suffering from these diseases. It would be helpful to also include real-life patient experiences to provide a more in-depth look at both diseases.


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