The first key to dealing with an IBD is to identify which particular disease you have. The two IBDs we’ll discuss today are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), which are both considered inflammatory bowel diseases. IBDs affect the gastrointestinal tract. Though Crohn’s Disease and UC are strikingly similar, they both have distinct characteristics that we’ll discuss to cover any gray areas. Readers experiencing similar symptoms can discern which route of treatment to undergo once they’ve identified their ailment.
Though the exact causes of Crohn’s Disease are unknown, it is believed to be caused by genetics, reaction to the environment, or possibly an overactive immune system. Crohn’s can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. It most commonly affects the small intestine where it meets with the large intestine (which is also referred to as the colon). It can also have negative effects on the eyes, joints and skin. It can appear in patches, specific regions and areas of your GI tract. This is a difficult disease to diagnose that takes a variety of tests to properly identify. There’s no one definitive test that can diagnose Crohn’s Disease. It’s a life-long malady that requires constant and consistent treatment, through medication or surgery.
Like Crohn’s, the exact cause of Ulcerative Colitis is largely unknown. Ulcerative Colitis occurs solely in the large intestine, affecting the colon and rectum. UC appears in a continuous pattern, instead of the “patchy” incarnations that Crohn’s Disease might manifest itself in. There are many different types of UC, depending on the area it affects. Proctosigmoiditis occurs in the rectum and sigmoid colon. Left-sided colitis affects the rectum all the way to the bend in the colon near the spleen. Pan-ulcerative colitis attacks the entire colon. About 30% of individuals in remission will suffer from a relapse in the first year, where with Crohn’s Disease more like 60% in remission will suffer from a relapse.
It’s hugely important to differentiate between these two diseases. You don’t have to suffer alone or indefinitely. There are treatment plans that require consistency, commitment and attention to detail. Contact Beverly Hills Center for Digestive Health today and we’ll help you devise a clear plan of attack.
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