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Compare and Contrast: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Sometimes, symptoms of diseases can be almost exactly the same, making it difficult for individuals to understand what is really going on inside their bodies. This is true for the case of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. The two diseases have many similarities and comparisons, but they also have many differences. Exploring the differences in these two inflammatory bowel diseases allows us to differentiate the two and understand them more completely.

What are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease?

The most commonly recognized similarity of these two conditions is that they are both considered inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). To be considered an IBD, the disease must include symptoms of inflammation for at least one organ of the digestive tract, although it may include inflammation of every organ. This is where the contrast between the two diseases comes to play since the inflammation sites for both differ. Crohn’s disease involves inflammation of multiple organs of the digestive tract, which may include the mouth, throat, esophagus, small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. On the other hand, Ulcerative Colitis involves inflammation of the lower digestive organs, starting in the lining of the rectum and moving upwards to the colon. Because both diseases involve inflammation of digestive organs, they share similar symptoms. These characterizing symptoms may include:

  • Pain throughout the abdominal region
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose bowel movements
  • Fever and cold sweats
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Fever

Diagnoses for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Because symptoms of both diseases are so similar, it is impossible to make a diagnosis based on symptoms. If you think that you are experiencing either disease, the best chance you have for an accurate diagnosis is to see a physician. To get the accurate diagnosis, the physician will likely have to perform a few tests which may include blood and stool samples. After blood and stool samples, the physician may wish to perform an endoscopy. This is a basic procedure in which the doctor can view the digestive tract by way of a tiny camera and tube, inserted either through the anus or orally. During the endoscopic procedure, your doctor may wish to remove a sample of tissue from your digestive tract for biopsy. Additionally, imaging technologies may be utilized to discover further inflammation. Whichever way your doctor decides to determine a diagnosis, you can be sure that these methods are utilized for accuracy in the diagnostic process.

Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Fortunately for patients diagnosed with either condition, treatment options are available and effective. Three types of treatment work with these diseases; medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. As far as medication goes, your doctor can prescribe you with the type of treatment he or she thinks your body will respond best to. Medications work to reduce the symptoms of inflammation for both conditions, which is the cause of pain in most patients diagnosed with either condition. Therapies include a mixture of medications specific to a patient’s response to specific treatments. Combination therapy is usually determined by trial and error of medications so that patients can have the best chance for relief and management of their condition. Lifestyle changes that may help reduce symptoms of pain for patients diagnosed with either disease usually require a change in diet. What we put into our bodies plays a vital role in how we feel, so becoming aware of what causes flare-ups and keeping away from these specific foods is imperative for symptom management.

Have a Prescription for Either Disease?

If you have a prescription medication to manage the symptoms or either Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, The RX Helper may be able to aid you in paying for the costs. Our mission is to aid individuals who have little or no prescription insurance coverage in paying for their needed medicinal treatments. Skipping doses or foregoing treatment can make these diseases less manageable, and can keep patients from living content lives. Our discounts are designed to help those who cannot afford their medications because they are developed through patient assistance programs. These programs cover a number of medications, and some can even offer full coverage. Find out if we can help you pay for your specific medication by calling us today at 877-767-3297.


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