Have you been diagnosed with Colitis or Crohn’s Disease? You’ve heard the two are similar, and you’re wondering
what the difference is? Do you eat the same foods and take the same medicines for each? The answer to those questions are what we’re gonna talk about in this article. So if you want to know if there’s difference between the Crohn’s and Colitis Diet, read on.
Colitis Diet: What is the Difference Between Colitis and Crohn’s?
Both Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). They present with many similarities, but are distinctly different in their internal symptoms and major treatments (surgery.) The distinction between the diagnoses is only determinable by a physician armed with the appropriate test results.
- Colonoscopy (with possible biopsy)
- Gastroscopy (with possible biopsy)
- Barium Follow Through Fluoroscopy
- Cat Scan
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- Blood Tests (CBC)
The results of these tests will prove invaluable in determining the best Crohn’s or Colitis Diet therapy.
Colitis Diet: The Difference, Inside and Out
Colitis and Crohn’s are both IBD conditions, but the location is paramount in determining diagnosis. Colitis is only present in the:
- Occasionally in the Lower Intestines
Crohn’s Disease can be located:
- Anywhere along the Gastrointestinal Tract (GI)
- From Mouth to Anus
Location, location, location! That’s the main difference between Colitis and Crohn’s.
The difference also shows itself in the most obvious side effect of an illness, pain.
- Colitis pain is usually located in the lower abdomen
- Crohn’s pain usually show itself in the lower right abdomen
As with any condition, symptoms can vary; those listed above are just the most commonly reported. It is however these symptoms that will dictate which is needed, a Crohn’s or Colitis Diet.
One of the ways a doctor might be able to tell which condition a patient has, is to examine stool samples from each patient.
- Colitis feces will quite likely have blood in it.
- Crohn’s, because it can be located high or low in the GI Tract, is much less likely to show blood in the stool.
Your physician may ask you to perform a Hemocult Test which is designed to test for blood in stool. This will help decide if you need a Crohn’s or Colitis Diet.
Inflammation Patterns and Appearance
Each illness has a distinctive pattern and appearance when viewed through an Endoscope (colon- or gastroscopy.)
- Colitis, being mostly in the rectum and large intestine, has a continuous inflammation pattern throughout the entire affected area.
- Colitis is more ulcerate (wounds on the surface), with thin walls along the intestines.
- Crohn’s Disease can appear along the entire Gastrointestinal Tract, and is usually patchy, appearing “here and there” along the way.
- Crohn’s appears more like a cobblestoned walk, with granulomas (lumps of inflamed cells).
You can see the importance of getting an actual look at the infected area, and thus the need for the Scopes. The colonoscopy and gastroscopy are major diagnostic tools, and will likely be the determining factor as to which is needed, a Crohn’s or Colitis Diet.
Colitis Diet: Treatments
So far in this article we’ve talked about the differences between the two diseases. It is in the treatment that we can talk about similarities, because with the exception of surgical options, the two are treated the same. So, with medication and Crohn’s or Colitis Diet, management of the two conditions are very similar.
There is no true cure (short of removal) for either Colitis or Crohn’s Disease. The first and most often used method of prevention is medications. Both are treated with:
- 5 – ASA (a type of aspirin)
- Corticosteroids (short term use only due to harmful side effects)
Both a Crohn’s and Colitis Diet are similar. What do they entail? Basically anything you want. Now anyone who suffers from either condition will tell you that certain foods will set off the symptoms. There are certain foods that seem to be more likely to hurt than help:
- Raw Foods
- Nuts and Grains
All the above should be eaten with caution until you know how it will affect you. The best thing to do is to keep a food diary for an extended period of time to see patterns, and determine which foods you can have in your Colitis Diet, and which you should avoid.
Here is where treatment of Crohn’s and Colitis differ greatly.
- Colitis actually allows for “complete removal” of the infected area, maybe even the entire structure. Pouches and Ostomy Bags can be created inside and outside of the body to help with proper functioning.
- Crohn’s Disease allows for surgery, but the symptoms will likely recur because the infected area can be along the entire GI Tract, and complete removal is not an option.
Is a Colitis Diet the Same as a Crohn’s Disease Diet?
As you can see there are similarities and differences between a Crohn’s and Colitis Diet. They both can be horrific if left untreated. Therein lies the key; you must seek treatment if you start noticing symptoms. If your life is in upheaval due to gastric issues and you don’t address it, Crohn‘s or Colitis Diet will not matter.
Place an “a” by each Colitis trait, and a “b” by each Crohn’s Disease trait.
_____ 1. Granulomas
_____3. Can be “cured” by complete removal of the colon
_____4. Occurs along entire GI Tract
_____5. Blood in the stool
Answers at the bottom of the page!
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Answers: 1) b, 2) a, 3) a, 4) b, 5) a
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