COLITIS & CROHN'S DISEASE
Inflammatory Bowel Disease denotes ongoing inflammation (redness, swelling, heat, pain, loss of function) of the bowel that is inexorable unless treatment is administered.
Two broad types of inflammatory bowel disease exist - Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. A third type which may share features with both conditions above is called Indeterminate Colitis.
Inflammation in ulcerative colitis affects the innermost layer of the bowel (mucosa), and usually starts in the rectum and may extend upwards for a variable distance. However, the whole colon is potentially subject to disease and its complications.
Blood and mucus may be mixed with stool and diagnosis is made on endoscopy. Some symptoms and signs may occur outside the bowel in the eyes, skin, joints and biliary tract (gallstones). Complications of the condition are several and are best managed under medical supervision.
Most of the treatment is medical with a wide range of anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery may be necessary for failure of medical treatment or for complications.
Surgery involves removal of the whole colon (colectomy) with the option of having a new reservoir formed, called the ileoanal pouch.
Crohn’s Disease affects the full thickness of the bowel, and may affect any part of the alimentary tract from the mouth to the anus. One of the most commonly affected part of the bowel is the right lower side of the abdomen, involving the terminal part of the small intestine (terminal ileum) and the beginning of the colon (right colon).
Symptoms and signs depend on which part of the gut is affected. Mouth ulcers, joint pain, gallstones, eye inflammation, anal fistulae, anal fissures, bowel strictures (narrowing) and bowel obstruction are a few of the problems that may arise from Crohn’s disease.
Surgery may be necessary for some of the above problems.