Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease - Facts and Details

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease are both Inflammatory Bowel Diseases affecting the bowel and colon. The common symptoms of these diseases are weight loss, severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, and fatigue.

Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are typically Inflammatory Bowel Diseases or IBD that is found among a lot of Americans. The basic symptoms of such disease are abdominal pain, total exhaustion, loss of weight and bloody diarrhoea resulting in anaemia. All this usually affect the colon and bowel and also result in irritable bowel syndrome.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) mostly attacks the mucosa and sub mucosa present in the large intestine. It occurs normally in young adults starting from the age of 10 right up to 19 or 20 years old, irrespective of sex. Although the exact cause of this disease is not known, it is mostly attributed to infectious, immunologic, nutritional and psychogenic related conditions and both physical and emotional factors put together create such a disorder. Stress can be a major factor in worsening the state of the illness. The presence of this disease may also be influenced by genes and environmental elements.

Ulcerative Colitis is usually indicated by frequent diarrhoea. In acute cases, bloody diarrhoea is noticed which is triggered due to severe pain and cramps in the abdominal region. This could also result in swelling of the abdomen. These conditions may turn you anaemic and pale. The reduced intake of food and irritable bowel syndrome may bring down the water level and electrolytes in the body. Fever, weight loss, anorexia and vomiting are the other features of this bowel disease.

Crohn's Disease is more or less similar to UC. In fact there are so many similarities between the two that sometimes it becomes difficult to differentiate between the two diseases. The main difference however is that Crohn's doesn't attack the rectum unlike UC. The other big difference is that while UC affects only the mucosa and sub mucosa of the intestinal region, Crohn's affects the muscularis propria as well in addition to the other two. Crohn's Disease typically causes fistulas and strictures while UC results in deadly megacolon and if left untreated can even lead to colonic carcinoma. Due to constant inflammation and regeneration of the colonic wall, there appears a thickening of the bowel wall in the case of Crohn's. In the case of UC though, the ulcerations made by the intestinal tract causes deep recesses or notches creating a pseudopolyps kind of appearance.

However, an X-Ray can help differentiate between the two inflammatory bowel diseases. Although both are IBD's causing irritable bowel syndrome, the manner of treating ulcerative colitis is different from that of treating Crohn's Disease even if some drugs used are the same. While diet plays a major role in Crohn's, UC doesn't seem to be affected much by diet.

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