About: Crohn's Disease & Colitis

Crohn's disease and colitis are often grouped together because they are the two main diseases in a larger category known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is estimated that as many as 1.4 million Americans have IBD.

IBD is an equal opportunity condition. Research shows that men and women are just as likely to have either Crohn's or colitis. It does tend to run in families. And, the one thing that everyone with these diseases has in common is chronic inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract, is usually characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The symptoms of these two illnesses are so similar, in fact, that doctors often are challenged to make a definitive diagnosis. In fact, approximately 10 percent of colitis cases are unable to be pinpointed as either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease and are called "indeterminate colitis"

Crohn's disease is named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn who, in 1932, co-published a landmark paper describing the features of the chronic disorder.

  • Crohn's disease usually affects the intestines, but may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus).
  • Age Matters: Crohn's disease may occur in people of all ages, but it is primarily a disease of adolescents and young adults, affecting mainly those between 15 and 35. Crohn's disease can also occur in people who are 70 or older and in young children as well. In fact, 10 percent of those affected -- or an estimated 140,000 -- are youngsters under the age of 18.
  • Symptoms of Crohn's disease include: crampy abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain with passing stool, persistent and watery diarrhea and weight loss.
  • Diagnosis: There is no single test that can establish the diagnosis of Crohn's disease. Physicians at the Crohn's & Colitis Treatment Center are able to use the most advanced equipment and technology to determine the diagnosis, by evaluating myriad test results along with a combination of information from the patient's history and physical exam.

Ulcerative Colitis, is characterized by inflammation only in the colon and or the rectum.

  • Although stress and certain foods can trigger symptoms, they do not cause ulcerative colitis.
  • Age Matters: The disease may occur at any age, but it usually occurs in people between ages 15 and 35. Ulcerative colitis may affect any age group, although there are peaks between the ages of 15 and 30 and again between the ages 50 and 70.
  • Symptoms of colitis include: abdominal pain that usually disappears after a bowel movement, abdominal sounds, blood and pus in the stools, diarrhea (in varying amounts throughout the day), fever, rectal pain and weight loss.
  • Diagnosis: Colonoscopy with biopsy is generally used to diagnose ulcerative colitis.

We're Here to Help...

Patients with Crohn's disease or colitis will find great comfort from the caring, experienced team of doctors and nurses at the AGA Crohn's & Colitis Treatment Center. Our medical team, with more than 30 years of experience, is commitment to the most advanced care available to treat Crohn's & Colitis and other gastroenterological conditions.

For additional information on Crohn's and Colitis visit CCFA.org