Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month: Image Created by artist Daniel Leighton @danielleightonart //His work addresses his journey living with this disease. Visit his website and learn more about Leighton’s journey and support his work.
Shared Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
It is often difficult to diagnose which form of IBD a patient is suffering from because both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis cause similar symptoms.
Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:
Urgent need to move bowels
Abdominal cramps and pain
Sensation of incomplete evacuation
Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)
General symptoms that may also be associated with IBD:
Loss of appetite
Loss of normal menstrual cycle
Both illnesses do have one strong feature in common. They are marked by an abnormal response by the body’s immune system. The immune system is composed of various cells and proteins. Normally, these protect the body from infection. In people with Crohn’s disease, however, the immune system reacts inappropriately.
However, in people suffering from IBD, the immune system reacts inappropriately, mistaking benign or beneficial cells and bacteria for harmful foreign substances. When this happens, your immune system can do harm to your gastrointestinal tract and produce the symptoms of IBD.