There are two types of illnesses that can be characterized as irritable bowel disease, colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Colitis is the inflammation of the large intestine or colon. While there are several causes and types of colitis, all types can include abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, gas and bloody stools.
This inflammation can be caused by a primary inflammatory disorder like ulcerative colitis, lack of blood flow to the colon, radiation exposure by the colon or an infection. One type of infection that can cause colitis is C.difficile, a difficult-to-treat bacterium.
A gastroenterologist can diagnose colitis by performing a colonoscopy or using other methods like CT scans, MRIs or X-rays of the area.
Crohn’s disease causes sores in the digestive tract. It is a chronic illness that affects the lining of the intestine and can prevent your body from properly digesting food. Crohn’s can cause malnutrition, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain.
It is not clear what causes Crohn’s disease, although it is not caused by excessive stress or a type of diet. It appears that the most common factors in developing Crohn’s disease are hereditary or related to the immune system. While there is no immediate test for Crohn’s disease, a gastroenterologist can use a colonoscopy as well as stool analysis, X-rays, biopsies and blood tests to diagnose the disorder.
Treatment does not cure Crohn’s disease, but it can make a huge impact on quality of life by controlling the disorder. These medications can help people with Crohn’s disease to return to their normal lives.