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Colitis (Symptoms, Types, and Treatments)

Inflammatory bowel disease and colitis

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that cause colitis. They are considered autoimmune diseases (the body's immune system "attacks" itself).

  • Ulcerative colitis always begins in the rectum and may spread to the rest of the rest of the colon, spreading from the rectum to the sigmoid, descending, transverse, and finally the ascending colon and cecum in that order. It is considered an autoimmune disease, and symptoms include abdominal pain, and bloody, diarrheal bowel movements.
  • Crohn's disease may occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract (GI), including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. In Crohn's disease, there may be "skip lesions," that is, abnormal segments of the GI tract interspersed with normal segments.

Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may have other organ systems involved in addition to the gastrointestinal tract.

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Reviewed on 11/22/2016

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