Differences Between Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

In this Section


Crohn's Disease

Ulcerative Colitis

Location Inflammation may occur anywhere along the digestive tract Large intestine (colon) is typically the only affected site
Inflammation Inflammation may occur in patches Inflammation is continuous throughout affected areas
Pain Pain is commonly experienced in the lower right abdomen Pain is common in the lower left part of the abdomen

Colon wall may be thickened and may have a rocky appearance

Ulcers along the digestive track are deep and may extend into all layers of the bowel wall

Colon wall is thinner and shows continuous inflammation

Mucus lining of large intestine may have ulcers, but they do not extend beyond the inner lining
Bleeding Bleeding from the rectum during bowel movements is not common Bleeding from the rectum during bowel movements

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
  • Abdominal pain, cramping or swelling
  • Anemia
  • Fever
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Joint pain
  • Malabsorption
  • Persistent or recurrent diarrhea
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Anemia caused by severe bleeding
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malabsorption
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent bowel movements
  • Weight loss


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