How to Know if You Have Crohn’s Disease or Colitis – And How to Treat Them

Colitis refers to the inflammation of the inner wall lining of the colon. This may be due to infection, allergies, reduced blood flow to the colon, or conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The symptoms of colitis depend on the cause but often include a combination of abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea.

While some causes of colitis—such as infection, allergies, or microscopic colitis—can be effectively treated, other colitis conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have no known cure. However, these conditions do have treatments that can significantly ease symptoms or even send the disease into extended remission.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease caused by inflammation in the digestive tract. It can cause abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, weight loss, malnutrition, and more. While the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, doctors suspect that factors such as heredity and immune system may play a significant role while diet and stress likely exacerbate the condition.

Ulcerative Colitis is also an inflammatory bowel disease but is characterized by having ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. This disease causes diarrhea often with blood or pus, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal bleeding, and more. The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown but is thought to have something to do with immune system malfunction

How to Know if You Have Crohn’s Disease or Coliti

Because symptoms for Crohn’s disease and colitis vary depending on the cause, location in the digestive tract, and severity, knowing whether you have Crohn’s disease or colitis means comparing your symptoms to your baseline health. Have your bowel habits changed or are you experiencing new symptoms or discomfort?

Some indicators that you may have Crohn’s disease or colitis include:

  • Significant change in bowel habits
  • Finding blood or pus in your stools
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Ongoing diarrhea that is unresponsive to over-the-counter treatments
  • Severe cramping or abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea that awakens you from sleep
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease usually develops gradually, though there are times when it may come on suddenly and without warning. The disease can also sometimes go into remission where symptoms may temporarily disappear. The symptoms may range from mild to severe. Crohn’s disease is often progressive, meaning it can get worse or change in severity over time.

Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Frequent and recurring diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in stools
  • Mouth sores
  • Rectal bleeding or drainage from the anus
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and reduced energy
  • Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis often comes on gradually. However, the symptoms also often change over time and may change from person to person depending on what part of the large intestine is inflamed.

Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Blood or pus in stools
  • Frequent and recurring diarrhea
  • Rectal pain or bleeding
  • Inability to defecate despite urgency
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Treatments for Colitis, Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

Diagnosing and treating colitis depends on the severity of symptoms and the causes of the colitis. Some types of colitis such as those caused by allergies or infection are more easily treated, while Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis do not have currently have an effective cure. However, in most cases, symptoms can be controlled and alleviated with a holistic care plan using an integrative medicine approach focused on reducing inflammation and restoring immunity.

  1. Heal any existing infections such as yeast infections or sinus infections that may be causing inflammation in the body.
  2. Identify food allergies or sensitivities that may be causing inflammation in the digestive tract. Common triggers of colitis, Crohn’s disease, or chronic inflammation include dairy, gluten, greasy or fried foods, highly-processed foods, or high-fiber foods such as nuts, seeds, and corn.
  3. Reduce inflammatory foods that may be triggering a runaway immune response such as refined carbohydrates, red meats, processed meats, fried foods, soda, and sugar.
  4. Evaluate and restore microbiome health by improving your gut health.
  5. Test and balance your hormones. Hormones can have an impact on triggering or exacerbating the disease.
  6. Practice stress reduction such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing as stress can cause inflammation in the body which can trigger or exacerbate colitis.
  7. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a persistent risk for those experiencing colitis. Water is integral to your body’s health and healing.
Request an Appointment

Colitis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis can be difficult to treat naturally without the help of a holistic health care provider. If you’ve been experiencing persistent symptoms and would like help achieving relief, please reach out. Our holistic integrative functional doctors are here to work with you to create a health plan that will help you restore and maintain optimal health.


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Categories: Family Health