What is Crohn’s colitis?

Crohn’s colitis is a type of Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are several types of Crohn’s disease, and each type differs by which part of the digestive tract it affects. With Crohn’s colitis, the colon (large intestine) becomes inflamed.

sometimes called Granuloma Colitis, a condition that accounts for 20 percent of all Crohn’s diagnoses. You can have just Crohn’s colitis, or you can have more than one type of Crohn’s colitis. Despite the similar names, this condition is not the same as ulcerative colitis.

This article looks at the symptoms, causes, and how to diagnose and treat Crohn’s colitis.

Understanding Colitis

colitis is a general term for inflammation of the large intestine – the tubular organ that connects the small intestine to the anus.

Crohn’s disease is only one possible cause of colitis. Others have nothing to do with IBD.

For example, colitis can be caused by a parasitic, viral, or bacterial infection.It is also available from ischemia (lack of blood flow) or as a side effect of radiation therapy.

Some of these forms of colitis are acute, which means they come on suddenly. Infectious colitis usually improves with treatment.

But colitis caused by IBD, such as Crohn’s colitis, is considered chronic. While the disease may ease or improve with treatment, it has never been cured.

Crohn’s colitis and ulcerative colitis

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main types of IBD. Both can cause colitis.

But Crohn’s colitis and ulcerative colitis are different diseases, and their differences are important when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

Crohn’s colitis

  • Inflamed areas between areas of healthy tissue

  • The cobblestone-like appearance of the intestines

  • Inflammation deep in the colon

ulcerative colitis

  • Inflammation is persistent (no healthy tissue)

  • No cobblestone bowel appearance

  • Inflammation in superficial layers

Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Symptoms of Crohn’s Colitis

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s colitis include:

  • diarrhea (often bloody)
  • lose weight
  • stomach ache

Abscesses or pockets of pus in the colon may also appear. This can lead to:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • painful bowel movements
  • pus coming out of the anus
  • fever
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A fistula is an abnormal passage between two tubular organs or between a tubular organ and the outside of the body. With Crohn’s colitis, fistulas form between the bowel and the bladder, vagina, skin, or other parts of the bowel.

Symptoms of a fistula include:

  • frequently infected
  • diarrhea
  • stomach ache
  • fever
  • lose weight
  • nausea
  • Vomit

Some of these symptoms usually occur with other medical conditions, and so may not be immediately thought to be caused by Crohn’s colitis. Similarities between the symptoms of Crohn’s colitis-related problems themselves can also make them difficult to distinguish.

What causes Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is considered an autoimmune disease, which means it is part of a group of diseases in which the immune system mistakenly identifies healthy cells, tissues or substances in your body as dangerous. It then produces special cells called antibodies to attack and destroy it.

Researchers don’t yet understand why autoimmune diseases occur. Experts believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors can cause Crohn’s colitis and other forms of Crohn’s disease. These factors include:

  • smokes
  • taking antibiotics
  • Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen)
  • using birth control pills

Crohn’s colitis is most common in North American, Western European, and people with Eastern European backgrounds. Incidence rates are rising among black Americans, as well as Asian and South American countries.


It can be difficult to differentiate Crohn’s colitis from ulcerative colitis and other similar diseases. A health care provider performs a physical exam and a series of tests, including:

  • Colonoscopy: A long, flexible tube with a camera and light is passed through the anus into the large intestine. A small piece of tissue (biopsy) may be removed for examination.
  • Upper endoscopy: Insertion through the mouth down into the stomach and part of the small intestine. More biopsies were performed.
  • Capsule endoscopy: You swallow a pill-sized camera and wear a device that records images as the camera passes through the small intestine.
  • Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan: The image shows a cross-sectional view of the bowel, which can show bleeding, obstruction, and other signs of Crohn’s disease.
  • Blood tests: Laboratory tests for red and white blood cell counts and markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP) and red blood cells Settling rate (ESR or sed rate).
  • Stool tests: Laboratory tests for blood samples, bacterial infections, and parasites.
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Being diagnosed with Crohn’s colitis doesn’t mean Crohn’s will no way Affects the small intestine or other areas of the digestive tract. It just means it doesn’t exist now.

Changes in Diagnosis

If the disease continues to affect other parts of the digestive tract, your diagnosis can change.

For example, if the ileum (small intestine) is found to be involved in addition to the colon, you will be diagnosed with ileocolitis, one of the other four forms of Crohn’s disease.

If other areas are affected, you may be diagnosed with Crohn’s colitis and another type. Possibilities include:

  • Gastroduodenum Crohn’s disease: Involvement of the esophagus, stomach, and/or upper small intestine
  • Jejunoileitis: Involves about half of the upper part of the small intestine

(The fifth form of Crohn’s disease, ileitis, affects only the ileum.)

If Crohn’s disease affects many areas throughout the digestive tract, it may not fall into exactly one of these categories.

Self-Care After Colonoscopy


Identifying Crohn’s colitis can help guide medical and surgical management. Diet also plays an important role in reducing flares.


Medications used for Crohn’s disease include:

  • Corticosteroids and aminosalicylates: Medications that help control inflammation
  • Immunomodulators: Drugs that reduce autoimmune activity
  • Biologics: Drugs that alter the immune response
  • Antibiotics: medicines to treat bacterial infections as needed


Diet is an important part of treating Crohn’s colitis. However, no single diet works for everyone. You’ll need to do some experimentation to find out what works best for you.

Still, some practice is often helpful and gives you a place to start. They include:

  • Eat four to six small meals a day
  • stay hydrated
  • drink slowly
  • Don’t drink from a straw, it can make you swallow air and become bloated
  • Have food in your kitchen that you know you can live with
  • Prepare meals ahead of time so you can eat something safe even if you’re not ready to cook
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You may want to use a food diary to help figure out which foods are bothering you or not. Certain types of foods (eg, fruits with seeds and peels, dairy products) tend to cause problems for people with Crohn’s colitis. Others (eg, fish, refined grains) tend to be “safe”.

Because you may need to avoid certain types of healthy foods, you may need to take nutritional supplements. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you identify which nutrients may be lacking in your diet.

Safe and Questionable Foods for the Crohn’s Diet

Complications of surgery

In some cases, surgery may be required due to the following complications:

  • intestinal obstruction
  • abscess
  • fistula
  • excessive bleeding
  • Ruptured bowel (when a hole develops in the wall of the digestive tract)
  • Toxic megacolon (when inflammation spreads to the deeper layers of the colon and causes it to stop working)

Ask your doctor how you can manage your symptoms with diet and nutritional supplements.

What are the treatment options for Crohn’s disease?


Crohn’s colitis is a form of Crohn’s disease that specifically causes inflammation of the large intestine. It causes bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain, and can lead to complications such as abscesses and fistulas.

It is diagnosed by colonoscopy, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, other scans, and blood and stool tests. But if Crohn’s disease begins to affect areas of the digestive tract outside the colon, the diagnosis can change.

Diet and medication are usually sufficient for simple cases. Complications may require surgery.

VigorTip words

Seek immediate medical attention if you have bowel symptoms that may be Crohn’s colitis. You may need a referral to a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the gastrointestinal system) for diagnosis and management.

The sooner you start the process, the sooner you’ll start feeling better.