Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
While the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be similar, these conditions have different causes and treatments.
In this article, we look at the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of IBD and IBS, as well as the outlook for people with these conditions.
What is IBD?
IBD causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which begins at the mouth and extends through the stomach and intestines to the anus. IBD is a long-term condition with no cure.
The two main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. However, this type of IBD most commonly affects the small intestine and the start of the colon. Crohn’s disease can cause patches of inflammation that damage multiple layers of the GI tract wall.
Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation of the colon and the rectum. Unlike Crohn’s disease, it causes continuous areas of inflammation that only affect the innermost layer of the colon wall.
According to a 2014 review, Crohn’s disease is typically more severe than ulcerative colitis but is much less common.
Doctors do not fully understand what causes IBD, but they believe that it occurs due to a problem with the immune system. Genetics seem to play a role too as IBD can run in families. Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, can also increase the risk of developing IBD.
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