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What are the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Colitis

What are the Symptoms  of Crohn’s Disease and Colitis

The first week of December marks Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. These gastrointestinal disorders can cause long-term inflammation in your digestive system. While these intestinal bowel syndromes share some similarities in symptoms and treatment, it is essential to understand the differences between them. Additionally, seeking specialized medical care and support from gastroenterology services is crucial for managing these conditions effectively. Here are the symptoms of Crohn’s and colitis and the treatment options for these conditions.

Understanding Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory conditions primarily affecting the digestive tract. However, they differ in terms of the location and the extent of inflammation within the gastrointestinal system.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can be patchy, with healthy tissues situated between the inflamed areas. The most commonly affected regions include the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (colon).

Ulcerative Colitis

Unlike Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis mainly affects the colon, also known as the large intestine. The inflammation in this condition is continuous and typically begins in the rectum before spreading to other parts of the colon.

Common Symptoms of Crohn's and Colitis

While the symptoms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can vary from person to person, there are several common signs indicative of these conditions:

Abdominal pain and cramping

Chronic and recurring abdominal pain is a common symptom of both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The pain may range from mild discomfort to severe cramps.


Frequent bowel movements accompanied by loose stools, or diarrhea, are typical symptoms of both conditions. The stools may contain blood or mucus as well.


Many individuals with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis experience extreme fatigue, which can be attributed to the body's increased effort to fight inflammation and absorb nutrients.

Weight loss

Due to an inadequate absorption of nutrients from the inflamed digestive tract, unintentional weight loss is often observed.


Low-grade fevers are a common symptom, especially during periods of active inflammation.

Rectal bleeding

Ulcerative colitis often presents with rectal bleeding, while Crohn's disease can cause bleeding anywhere along the digestive tract.

Treatment and Management

Since there is currently no cure for Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, the primary goal of treatment is to manage symptoms, induce remission and prevent flare ups. Gastroenterology services play a crucial role in developing personalized treatment plans for individuals with these conditions. Here are some common treatment options:


Anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors and antibiotics are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation and control symptoms. Biologic therapies targeting specific molecules involved in the inflammatory process also have shown promising results.

Nutritional therapy

In some cases, a specialized diet or nutritional therapy may be recommended to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. This can involve elemental diets, which replaces foods and drinks with special formulas, enteral nutrition delivered through gastrointestinal tract, or specific elimination diets.


In severe cases where medications fail to provide relief, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected portion of the digestive tract.

RELATED: Living With and Managing IBS

Gastroenterology Services in Northeast Ohio

Gastroenterology services are essential for individuals with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal disorders. The specialized providers at Southwest General Health Center provide a wide range of services to diagnose, treat and manage diseases of the digestive tract and liver. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, visit us at