Crohns Disease Vs Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms Treatment
While symptoms of Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are similar, there are some differences between the two conditions:
- Crohns disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis affects only the colon
- People who have Crohns disease can have healthy parts of the intestine interspersed with the inflamed areas while ulcerative colitis is characterized by continuous inflammation of the colon
- Crohns disease can affect all layers of the bowel walls while ulcerative colitis only affects the innermost lining of the colon
- In Crohns disease, pain is felt throughout the entire abdomen while in ulcerative colitis, the pain is usually localized to the left side of the abdomen
Bowel Cancer And Crohns Disease
People with Crohns disease in their colon have a higher risk of developing bowel cancer. Studies show varying results as to the risk of bowel cancer for people with Crohns disease – ranging from 2-3 times to 6 times that of the general population3. The risk after 20 years of Crohns disease is reported as being in the region of 7%3, which is similar to the risk in people with ulcerative colitis after 20 years .
Bowel cancer can also develop in the small intestine, though it is much rarer. It is thought only around 2% of people with Crohns disease in the small bowel develop cancer in this area4.
What Role Does Diet And Nutrition Play In Ulcerative Colitis
Diet does not cause the development of ulcerative colitis nor can any special diet cure the disease. However, the foods you or your child eat may play a role in managing symptoms and lengthening the time between flareups.
Some foods may make symptoms worse and should be avoided, especially during flareups. Foods that trigger symptoms are different from person to person. To narrow down what foods affect you, keep track of what you eat each day and how you feel afterward .
Problem foods often include:
- High sugar foods and drinks.
- Carbonated beverages.
- High-fiber foods.
In addition to the problem foods listed above, infants, children and teenagers can also experience issues with:
- Dairy products.
Keep a careful eye on your childs diet and nutrition. Their appetite may decrease during a flareup and they might not eat enough to stay healthy, and grow. Also, the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis may keep their digestive tract from absorbing enough nutrients. This can also affect your childs health. For these reasons, you may have to increase the amount of calories your child consumes.
Its best to work with your provider and nutritionist to come up with a personalized diet plan if you or your child has ulcerative colitis.
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What Happens After You Get A Colectomy
Healing time and the long-term effects of a colectomy vary based on how much of the colon had to be removed. Some people who have only had part of the colon removed will still be able to go to the bathroom normally. Others who had larger sections removed may have to follow a new diet, avoid certain foods, or adapt to new bathroom habits.
What Is The Best Diet For Ulcerative Colitis
Theres no single diet that works best for ulcerative colitis. If the disease damages the lining of the colon, your body might not absorb enough nutrients from food. Your healthcare provider may recommend supplemental nutrition or vitamins. Its best to work with your provider and nutritionist to come up with a personalized diet plan.
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Ulcerative Colitis Treatments Vs Crohns Disease Treatments
While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease at the moment, dont despair, research is moving quickly. There has been such a rapid advancement in the different options that are available now compared to 10 or 20 years ago, says Dr. Blazora.
Those advancements include things like anti-inflammatory medications, immunosuppressants , and biologicsthese are injected or received via infusionwhich are the newest class of medications that work to neutralize certain proteins that activate inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If medications arent doing the trick, surgery is always a treatment option in more severe cases. This is where things differ a bit between ulcerative colitis treatment and Crohns disease treatment. That could mean getting your entire colon removed if you have ulcerative colitis, which can signal the end of symptoms for some folks. Some people call the colectomy a cure, but technically, the disease is really systemic because it affects the whole body, so people can still have complications after the surgery, says Dr. Blazora.
If you have Crohns disease, surgery can remove the damaged portions of your digestive tract, and reconnect the healthy portions. Still, this doesnt cure the disease and inflammation will likely come back close to the areas that were reconnected. Taking medications is still very important to reduce inflammation and immune activity in this case.
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Symptoms Of Crohns Disease Include:
- Frequent Diarrhea
- Joint pain
In severe cases of Crohns Disease, the symptoms can include inflammation of the liver or bile ducts, inflammation of eyes, joints, and skin, anemia , kidney stones, delayed growth or sexual development in children
Possible complications of Crohns Disease include bowel obstruction, fistulas, anal fissure, ulcers, malnutrition, colon cancer and increased risk of blood clots in the veins and arteries.
How Are Ulcerative Colitis And Crohns Disease Diagnosed
If youre looking for one easy test that will definitively tell you whether you have ulcerative colitis or Crohns, you might be disappointed. Getting an ulcerative colitis diagnosis or a Crohns disease diagnosis is a process that involves multiple tests and factoring in your unique symptoms. Theres not that one signature test, says Dr. Balzora. So when we meet somebody and theres a suspicion for the disease, its really just a matter of the story they tell us, their age, and their family history because it does run in families. There are other things that might be ruled out right like an infection or cancer with a colonoscopy , she explains.
Other ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease tests can include an upper endoscopy, where a doctor will use a scope to look inside your stomach and the first part of the small intestine. They may also take a biopsy from one of these tests that they will then study in the lab for signs of inflammation or cancer. Imaging tests, like MRIs and CT scans, can also help give your doctor information about whats going on in your digestive tract.
Sometimes we do something called a video capsule which is basically a pill that you swallow that has a camera inside and allows us to look at the small intestine, says Dr. Balzora. Finally, blood tests may be able to show whether certain inflammatory markers that are consistent with IBD are present in your blood.
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Treatment Of Ulcerative Colitis
If fulminant or toxic colitis is suspected, the patient should
Stop all antidiarrheal drugs
Take nothing by mouth and have inserted a long intestinal tube attached to intermittent suction
Receive aggressive IV fluid and electrolyte therapy with 0.9% sodium chloride, and potassium chloride and blood as needed
Receive high-dose IV corticosteroids or cyclosporine
Perhaps receive infliximab
Having the patient roll over in bed from the supine to prone position every 2 to 3 hours may help redistribute colonic gas and prevent progressive distention. Insertion of a soft rectal tube may also be helpful but must be done with extreme caution to avoid bowel perforation. Even if decompression of a dilated colon is achieved, the patient is not out of danger unless the underlying inflammatory process is controlled otherwise, colectomy will still be necessary.
If intensive medical measures do not produce definite improvement within 24 to 48 hours, immediate surgery is required or the patient may die of sepsis caused by bacterial translocation or even perforation.
Genetics Of Ulcerative Colitis Associated Colorectal Cancers
Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the pathogenesis of CRC in IBD. Most sporadic CRC cases arise from a preceding adenoma associated with unique genetic mutations. IBD-related cancers, however, are associated with a partially different genetic background. The increased risk is thought to be an acquired event in IBD, although common inherited factors have been proposed as a link between both forms of IBD and CRC.
Complete elucidation of the mechanism of UC-CRC carcinogenesis will require further investigations however, chronic inflammation is thought to be the most important driving mechanism. Although the same three molecular pathways that have been described for sporadic colon carcinogenesis are also found in colitis-associated neoplasms, yet the timing and frequency of some of the key genetic changes are different ,1), possibly due to the different main driving mechanisms.
Summary of geneticalte-rations in sporadic colorectal cancer and colitis-associated colorectal cancer . The timing of p53 and APC mutations is different unlike in sporadic neoplasia, mutations and LOH in p53 are early events in UC-associated CRCs. The opposite was reported for APC mutations.
Recently, an association was reported by the Mayo Clinic between the G308A TNF polymorphism and the risk of UC-associated CRC in 114 UC-CRC cases and matched controls, further corroborating the importance of chronic inflammation in CRC pathogenesis.
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Are Your Symptoms Ibs Or Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer shares some symptoms with a less serious, but much more common disease: irritable bowel syndrome . So how do you know if your symptoms are cancer, IBS or something else?
We talked to David Richards, M.D., about the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and colorectal cancer, and what action you should take if you are experiencing either.
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
IBS can be hard to diagnose. Its not something a doctor can see, feel or detect under a microscope, and the symptoms come and go. The main symptoms of IBS are constipation, diarrhea or a combination of the two, accompanied by abdominal pain.
Someone with IBS may also experience one or more of the following:
- Abdominal bloating
- The feeling that you havent finished a bowel movement
- Relief of symptoms after a bowel movement
You can gauge whether these are IBS symptoms based on how long youve had them. The symptoms have to go back at least six months, with at least one day a week of pain in the last three months, Richards says.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain are all symptoms of colorectal cancer. However, there are additional symptoms that are more concerning.
Sudden and unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool are all cause for concern, says Richards.
Other colorectal cancer symptoms include:
I would be especially concerned if these symptoms came on suddenly, says Richards.
How The Large Intestine Is Affected
Another distinct difference between Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis is the manner of inflammation. Crohns disease is characterized by inflammation that affects sections of the colon, while other sections remain healthy and unharmed. In people with ulcerative colitis, the entire colon is inflamed and irritated, without the mixture of healthy sections seen in Crohns disease.
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What Should I Ask My Doctor On Behalf Of My Child Or Teenager
Ask your healthcare provider the following questions in addition to the ones listed above:
- What vitamins should my child take?
- Will my other children have pediatric ulcerative colitis?
- Is my child at risk for other conditions?
- Can you recommend a psychiatrist or therapist to help my child with emotional issues related to pediatric ulcerative colitis?
- Is my child growing at a normal rate?
- What can I do to help my child cope at school?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When you have ulcerative colitis, its essential to work closely with your healthcare team.
Take your medications as prescribed, even when you dont have symptoms. Skipping medications youre supposed to take can lead to flareups and make the disease harder to control. Your best shot at managing ulcerative colitis is to follow your treatment plan and talk to your healthcare provider regularly.
Whats The Difference Between Inflammatory Bowel Disease And Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBD is a disease IBS is a syndrome, or group of symptoms. The causes and treatments are different.
IBS is a type of functional gastrointestinal disease. It affects how the bowels function, causing them to contract more often than usual. IBS is also known as spastic colon or nervous stomach.
IBS doesnt inflame or damage the intestines like IBD, so imaging scans cant detect it and it doesnt increase the risk of colon cancer. People with IBS rarely need hospitalization or surgery.
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Autoimmune Conditions / Chronic Inflammation
The first similarity for both U.C. and Crohns is that they are both considered to be autoimmune conditions at their core.
This means that the immune system isnt functioning like it should. The body starts to improperly attack itself as if it is a foreign invader .
This is what sets up and continues to cause chronic inflammation.
This is also why traditional anti-inflammatory treatments are not very effective long term. While you may be able to suppress the inflammation somewhat, you are not targeting the cause of the inflammation and thus the inflammation will continue to be produced.
While there are many different contributors / risk factors that can set the stage for the immune system to start the immune system from functioning improperly such as genetics, diet , and chronic stress there is no one trigger that is agreed upon to be THE cause.
How Can I Find Support After An Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis
When taking care of your physical well-being, dont forget that ulcerative colitis can take a toll on your emotional and mental well-being too. If it turns out your symptoms are ulcerative colitis, you can find a support group, or ask your doctor if they can connect you with a therapist or G.I. psychologist. Dr. Riehl, for example, works with patients on aspects of body image and even connects them with other patients who have experienced colectomy or ostomy . We talk openly about the impact that it can have on them from an intimacy perspective to how it impacts their self-identity, she says.
Since ulcerative colitis often starts at an age when people are thinking about their first job or starting a family, it can be particularly tough. One of the reasons that I and several of my colleagues went into this field is precisely because of thatso that we can hopefully make a difference in peoples lives early, and have them be able to lead productive and complete lives by putting their disease in remission, Dr. Sinha says.
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Systemic Symptoms Of Colorectal Cancer
Systemic colorectal cancer symptoms may impact more than the digestive tract and affect your entire body. Common systemic symptoms of colorectal cancer at all stages include:
- Unexplained loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain, bloating or cramps
- A persistent feeling that you cannot completely empty your bowels
What Is The Difference Between Diverticulitis And Ulcerative Colitis
Diverticulosis is a condition that describes small pouches in the wall of the digestive tract that occurs when the inner layer of the digestive tract bulges through weak spots in the outer layer. When these diverticula become inflamed or infected, diverticulitis can develop.
Ulcerative colitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane that lines the colon . The inflammation occurs in the innermost layer of the colon and may result in the formation of sores . Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine except for the lowermost section, called the terminal ileum. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease .
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Read about the symptoms of bowel cancer, and when you should see your GP to discuss whether any tests are necessary.
Your doctor will probably carry out a simple examination of your tummy and bottom to make sure you have no lumps.
They may also arrange for a simple blood test to check for iron deficiency anaemia this can indicate whether there is any bleeding from your bowel that you haven’t been aware of.
In some cases, your doctor may decide it is best for you to have a simple test in hospital to make sure there is no serious cause for your symptoms.
Make sure you return to your doctor if your symptoms persist or keep coming back after stopping treatment, regardless of their severity or your age.
How Often Does A Colectomy Provide A Permanent Cure
If a person with UC has their entire colon and rectum removed, they will be cured of the conditions colon-related symptoms. However, they may still have symptoms related to other organs. For example, a person living with UC is twice as likely to experience liver problems compared to the general population and a recent study found that around 20 percent of people with UC were affected by liver disease. Most people continue to have liver disease after undergoing a colectomy.
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