ULCERATIVE COLITIS AND CROHN’S DISEASE
The term “Inflammatory Bowel Disease” encompasses two distinctive diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both diseases may present with various degree of abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in stool, fever and weight loss. The underlying cause of these symptoms is inflammation of the lining of various segments of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon (large bowel), whereas Crohn’s disease may affect the colon as well as the small bowel and – occasionally – even the stomach and the mouth. In most patients, Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic, lifelong condition with alternating episodes of lack of symptoms (called remissions) and of exacerbation of symptoms (flares). The mainstay treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is by using medications, some of which may have to be administered intravenously. In some patients, surgery may be necessary for treatment.