What Is the Difference between Colitis and Crohn’s Disease?

Colitis and Crohn’s disease are both types of inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease is a disease that primarily affects the intestines, though it can involve other organs in the body as well. Although colitis and Crohn’s disease have marked similarities, there are also some distinct differences between them.

Areas of Inflammation

Ulcerative colitis only affects two layers of the intestines: the mucosa and the submucosa. Swelling in the intestines eventually produces pseudopolyps and ulcers. Pseudopolyps are bits of mucosa hanging off of the intestines. This disease is confined to the colon and/or rectum. In ulcerative colitis, the inflammation always begins at the rectum and moves upward.

The inflammation in Crohn’s disease, by comparison, goes through all of the layers of the intestines and causes fistulas to form. Fistulas are abnormal openings that go from one area of the body to another. It also is not confined to the colon and rectum. Crohn’s disease can be found in any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation never begins at the rectum and often does not even affect it.


Both of these inflammatory bowel diseases cause severe pain; however, in colitis, the pain is usually in the lower left quadrant of the body. A constant fever is another common symptom, as is diarrhea. This diarrhea is frequent and usually contains bright red blood.

The pain with Crohn’s disease occurs in the lower right quadrant. A fever does not always occur, but if it does, it is only during a flare-up. The diarrhea is watery and is only bloody if the disease is in the rectum. Crohn’s disease can also lead to gallstones and kidney stones if the jejunum and ileum are inflamed.

Methods of Treatment

Both these diseases can be treated with medication, but medication alone is not always enough. For severe cases of ulcerative colitis, surgery may be the only option for effective treatment. The inflamed portion of the large intestine may have to be removed. In extreme cases, the entire large intestine must be removed. Dietary changes usually have little effect on colitis.

In Crohn’s disease, diet can play a significant role in alleviating and controlling symptoms. Because Crohn’s disease goes through every layer of the affected areas of the intestines, surgery is not usually a beneficial treatment.

One dietary change that can have a positive impact on both colitis and Crohn’s disease is food combining. Food combining involves eating wholesome, natural foods but in compatible combinations. Many digestive problems that people suffer from are caused by eating foods together that should be eaten separately. When eaten together, these foods cause diarrhea, bloating, gas and heartburn, all of which can aggravate inflammatory bowel diseases.

Food combining changes that. Your stomach will no longer struggle to digest bad combinations of food that force it to produce conflicting enzymes. Digestion will be smoother, easier and take less time, all of which means less stress on your body and a healthier, happier you. Learn why food combining is a safe, effective way to fewer digestive problems and start feeling better in as little as 24 hours.

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