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Differences Between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease Essay


Baumgart (2012) found “Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns disease are the two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)” (p.3). While the root of IBD is anonymous, it seems to be an effect of interruption in the typical operation of the immune system.

The immune system is the natural system that protects the human body from harm and operates by protecting the body against foreign substances that could potentially lead to viruses, bacteria, or even cancer.

In Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns disease, the immune system, attacks the gastrointestinal system, which is the digestive tract or tube in the body that extends from the mouth to the anus (Potter, 2003, p.10).

Consequently, in both diseases the intestines develop into chronically inflamed-red, raw, and swollen. This disease is frequently associated with intestinal ulcers (Giddens and Giddens , 2003, p.7).

This continuous inflammation can cause a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, feverish condition, and loss of weight.

To discuss the differences between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns disease, this essay will analyze the patient’s and physician’s opinion concerning the disease. Crohn’s disease varies from ulcerative colitis in that the inflammatory changes are transmural (rather than superficial) and can engage any part of the alimentary tract, from mouth to the anus.

Additionally, the two diseases include a wide range of severity. Some Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease patients become very sick and debilitated, while, others experience symptoms that are mild and easier to manage (Potter, 2003, p.8).

Besides, from the patient’s point of view, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis appears with very comparable symptoms. Individuals with both diseases may feel abdominal cramps, diarrhea, weight loss, intestinal bleeding, nausea, fatigue, and generalized malaise.

To physicians, on the other hand, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are relatively different. Although both diseases can create chronic and often enduring intestinal inflammation with related symptoms, unique characteristics differentiates them (see table 1).

Table 1 Characteristic Features of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Characteristic Ulcerative Colitis Crohn’s Disease
Site of Involvement Colon and Rectum Any portion of the GI tract
Pattern of Involvement Continuous disease Skip disease
Level of bowel wall involved Mucosa (inside lining of bowel wall) Full thickness of bowel wall
Granuloma cell type Not present Present
Fistula Not present Present

Potter (2003) noted that any area of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the excretory part of alimentary canal can be affected by Crohn’s disease (p.10). Ulcerative colitis, on the contrary, is limited to the rectum and colon, never involving the small bowel or any other fraction of the gastrointestinal tract (p.11).

Crohn’s disease may concurrently engage different areas of the gastrointestinal tract, with diseased sections of intestine alternating with normal sections; ulcerative colitis commonly begins in the rectum and directly widens up through the colon in an uninterrupted and confluent manner.

The full thickness of the bowel wall is involved by Crohn’s disease, while, ulcerative Colitis involves only the inside lining of the rectum and colon, which is called the mucosa (Baumgart, 2012, p.3). Crohn’s disease can be altered by fistulas and abscesses, which almost never show in ulcerative colitis.

Lastly, in Crohn’s disease, occasionally a certain cell knows as granuloma materializes (reason for Crohn’s disease being called granulamatous enteritis or granulamatous colitis); while in ulcerative colitis this specific cell is not found.

Although Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have many quality of being similar and might at first appear to be the similar disease, they are very much different and have distinctive characteristics.

Reference List

Baumgart, D. C. (2012). Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: From Epidemiology and Immunobiology to a Rational Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approach. New York, NY: Springer.

Giddens, S., & Giddens, O. (2003). Everything You Need to Know About Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

Potter, C. (2003). Coping With Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Differences Between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/differences-between-ulcerative-colitis-and-crohns-disease/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Differences Between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease'. 18 June.

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