Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease come under the heading of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). When the large intestine (colon) becomes inflamed it is known as ulcerative colitis (UC). UC affects the inner lining of the colon. Crohn’s disease (CD) can affect any part of the digestive tract from mouth to anus and may affect the full thickness of the wall transmural.
Although UC and CD are pathologically different they have common features. In both the intestines become swollen inflamed and ulcerated. The diseases share many of the same symptoms including
- persistent diarrhoea
- abdominal pain
- rectal bleeding
- weight loss
- skin or eye irritations
- delayed growth in children.
UC and CD can present themselves either in an acute or chronic form and can be characterised by flare ups or exacerbations and periods of remission. The severity of symptoms, period of remission and length of flare up vary from person to person. the investigation of CD or UC by a doctor usually involves taking a history of symptoms from the patient followed by a general examination and a series of more specific analysis such as rectal, bowel and blood tests, along with x-rays and analysis of stool samples.
It can often take time to confirm a diagnosis of CD or UC as the symptoms of both are shared with quite a number of other diseases. It is therefore necessary to exclude other causes before a definite diagnosis can be made.
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