Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Crohn’s & Colitis

Crohn’s and colitis are common conditions that affect 1 in 200 people throughout the U.S.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Generally, Crohn’s disease refers to inflammation of the small intestine and colon, though symptoms may present anywhere else along your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis involves inflammation of the large intestine.   

Treating IBDs requires a team approach. Your care team may include gastroenterologyradiology, nutrition, and possibly surgical specialists. You have access to all this expertise at Aurora BayCare.    

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Colitis symptoms vary from mild to severe depending on the extent of inflammation and where in your body it occurs.  Symptoms may include:

  • Rectal pain and/or bleeding
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration and shock (in severe cases)

To diagnose ulcerative colitis (UC), your doctor will usually require a blood test and stool sample.  Other minimally-invasive diagnostic tests for UC include a colonoscopy with tissue biopsy, CT scan, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and X-rays. 

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Common Crohn’s disease symptoms may include:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in stool
  • Ulcers
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss

To diagnose Crohn’s disease, your doctor will usually require a blood test and stool sample.  Other minimally-invasive diagnostic tests for Crohn’s disease include colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, double-balloon endoscopy, CT scan, MRI, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and X-rays.   

IBD vs. IBS

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is different from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS does not cause inflammation or damage to the bowel. Although the two conditions have similar names, they have certain key differences.

IBS is very common, affecting 10-15% of adults in the U.S. The cause of IBS is unknown. However, certain factors, such as specific foods or stress, may trigger IBS in some people.

Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and excess gas. Some people with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea. It’s an uncomfortable condition that can limit your qual
ity of life. But IBS is not life-threatening, and it does not make you more likely to develop other colon conditions.

People with IBD, on the other hand, have a chronic illness in which parts of the intestine can become inflamed or diseased. Conditions such as Crohn’s or colitis can lead to life-threatening complications and can increase your risk of colon cancer. 

If you believe you may have IBS or IBD, talk to a GI doctor at Aurora BayCare. There are treatment options for both. 

Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The cause of IBD is unknown, and there is no cure. The primary treatment goal for inflammatory bowel disease is to help you manage symptom flare-ups and enjoy long periods of remission. 

There are many treatment options, including anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, antibiotics, nutritional supplements, lifestyle adjustments, and surgery. Occasionally surgery is required, and we have experienced surgeons who provide a conservative, skilled approach to IBD surgery.

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