Crohn's disease is an immune-mediated disease that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and can involve any segment, mouth to anus. The small intestine is most commonly inflamed. People with Crohn’s disease can exhibit many different symptoms. Common symptoms include:
Crohn's disease can also affect areas outside of the digestive tract including the joints, eyes, and skin. When diagnosing Crohn's disease, the doctor will look at all of these factors before determining what course to take.
Colitis is inflammation and swelling of the lining of the colon. There are many possible causes of colitis. The most common causes include:
Symptoms of colitis and severity may vary. These symptoms include:
Similar to Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis can involve areas outside the digestive tract and lead to fatigue along with inflammation of the joints, eyes or skin.
Because Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis involve the immune system, the medications used inhibit the body's ability to produce inflammation which is usually our natural healing response. These medications reduce the inflammation in the intestines. The goal is to create a state of remission where the inflammation is controlled and the tissues within the bowel are able to heal. In addition to medications, maintaining a healthy diet can help improve the symptoms seen in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.