I had ulcerative colitis; I guess technically I still do, but I’ve had zero symptoms since 2005. There are a couple of other bowel issues many people have too. These include Crohn’s and IBS. Let’s find out a little bit about each one and what the differences are.
Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are common types of an inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) has symptoms, but is not a structural problem. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation.
Exactly how are Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s and IBS different?
Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon and the rectum and causes sores (ulcers) in the lining of the colon. Additional symptoms can include mucus in the stool, fever and sometimes you have a constant feeling that you need to go to the bathroom. Learn more Ulcerative Colitis.
Crohn’s can affect the entire digestive tract from the mouth to the anus including the stomach and intestine. The most common afflictions are at the end of the small and large intestine. Learn more Crohn’s.
IBS sufferers may have a more sensitive colon. Those with diarrhea may have increased levels of serotonin in the gut and those with constipation may have low levels of serotonin. This measurement is difficult to determine with a physical or chemical exam. Learn more IBS.
How do you know if you have Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s or IBS?
A colonoscopy is a type of exam where a flexible tube that has a tiny camera attached is inserted into the large intestine and the entire colon is viewed by the doctor and he/she will be able to diagnose ulcerative colitis. An endoscopy is a similar exam, but it includes an upper GI. An endoscopy will help determine whether you have crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
Having a colonoscopy is not fun, but it’s such a relief to know what’s wrong with your body The preparations for the exam are actually worse than the exam itself. You drink stuff that cleans out your colon. You pretty much have to be near a bathroom the day before the exam,.You are totally cleaned out. As a result the doctor will be able to actually see what’s going on with your colon.
Since IBS is not a structural or anatomical problem it’s not identifiable by a physical or chemical exam. IBS is a collection of symptoms that have been ongoing for at least 6 months. A symptom journal is recommended to figure out what triggers the onset of an episode.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1984 and in the course of 20 years found that I was unwilling to continue living with the day to day discomforts. Doctors were focused on simply treating my symptoms with medication. By changing my eating habits and frame of mind I began healing myself. Learn more on how I am now ‘Living Colitis Free’. My Story.