Ulcerative Colitis Related Conditions

Crohn's disease

The disease resembling most as per the symptoms, pathology, and nature of Ulcerative colitis is Crohn's disease. Both these conditions are together called inflammatory bowel disorders. In spite of their close resemblance, they do share some important differentiating points.

Crohn's disease (CD) is an inflammatory process of the digestive system that can affect any portion of the digestive tract from mouth to anus. However, it is most commonly seen (roughly half of all cases) in the last part of the small intestine called the terminal ileum and cecum.

Crohn's disease causes inflammation, deep ulcers, and scarring in the wall of the intestine and often occurs in patches.

The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are a pain in the abdomen, urgent diarrhea, general tiredness, and loss of weight. Rarely is there obvious bloody diarrhea, Nausea and vomiting may be associated with this condition. Crohn's is sometimes associated with other inflammatory conditions affecting the joints, skin, and eyes. The pain of CD is often in the lower right area of the abdomen. This is where the terminal ileum is located. CD frequently results in the development of fistulas, which are abnormal connections between loops of the intestine. These may even involve other organs such as the urinary bladder or open onto the skin. If the fistulous tract appears between the intestine and the bladder, the stool is allowed to pass into the urine.

CD inflammation also frequently results in the formation of scar tissue with narrowed segments known as strictures. These strictures frequently cause acute crisis with bowel obstructions the symptoms of which will depend on the severity. Hemorrhoid-like skin tags and anal fissures may also develop.
Crohn's disease is a chronic condition and the severity of the symptoms fluctuates unpredictably over time. Patients are likely to experience flare-ups in between intervals of remission or reduced symptoms.

Ulcerative colitis Vs Crohn's disease:


Ulcerative colitis

Crohn's Diseases


The onset of ulcerative colitis may be sudden or insidious.

The onset of Crohn's disease is usually insidious.


Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine only.

Crohn's disease can affect the small intestine as well as the large intestine.

Location (2)

Ulcerative colitis usually does affect the rectum.

Crohn's disease usually doesn't affect the rectum, but frequently affects the anus instead.


Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation or swelling of the top layer of the inner lining of the colon.

Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the entire thickness of the lining of the intestine or it is much deeper than ulcerative colitis.


Ulcerative colitis is more common in non-smokers.

Crohn's disease is more common in smokers


Ulcerative colitis is almost always associated with bloody diarrhea.

Though diarrhea is the main feature of Crohn's disease, it is usually not bloody.


The common complication of ulcerative colitis is toxic megacolon.

The common complications of Crohn's disease include fistulas and strictures with incidental bowel obstruction.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS, sometimes known as spastic colon, is a disorder characterized by dysfunction of motility and sensation in the bowel.

Muscles in the bowel normally contract a few times a day, moving feces along and ultimately resulting in a bowel movement. It is believed that in a person with IBS, these muscles are exceptionally sensitive to stimuli, or triggers such as stress, dietary changes, and activity. While these triggers would not normally affect others, they can provoke a strong response in a person with IBS. A person who does not have IBS may have no trouble eating a salad or drinking coffee, but a person with IBS may exhibit symptoms such as pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Studies indicate IBS is much more common than Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Typically, people with IBS will have crampy abdominal pain along with gradual changes in their bowel pattern, often alternating between diarrhea and constipation. A hard stool followed by one or more loose stools per day or a series of hurried soft bowel movements following breakfast is common. The stool is often hard and is passed in small pellets with straining, or can be very loose and passed with a sense of urgency. Evacuation often feels incomplete. Abdominal pain is usually on the lower left side of the abdomen but it can be present in any area. Passing gas or visiting the bathroom may temporarily relieve this cramp-like discomfort. Mucus may be present in the stool. There may be a sensation of bloating or even visible swelling of the abdomen. Some may even experience nausea and vomiting.

Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome

The diagnosis of IBS is made on the basis of symptoms and by ruling out other disorders through a thorough health history, physical examination, and some laboratory tests. An endoscopy or an x-ray may be performed. The typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include abdominal pain is relieved by a bowel movement, abdominal pain associated with a change in the frequency of bowel movements, abdominal pain is associated with a change in the consistency of the stool.

Irritable bowel syndrome Vs ulcerative colitis:

01 The most crucial point is that no significant abnormalities like inflammation or ulceration are seen upon examination of the colon in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. But those with ulcerative colitis have inflammation in the colon lining that can be seen by a doctor when the colon is examined.

02 In patients with ulcerative colitis this inflammation may lead to symptoms of diarrhea, but not usually constipation, and not always with abdominal pain. While alternating diarrhea and constipation is the hallmark of irritable bowel syndrome.

Another way that ulcerative colitis can be distinguished from IBS is that people with ulcerative colitis may have rectal bleeding, a symptom missing from IBS.

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