What’s the Difference in IBD and IBS? Part One of a Series

What’s the Difference in IBD and IBS? Part One of a Series
Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a series of columns about the similarities and the differences among IBD, Crohn’s, colitis, IBS and celiac disease. Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis (UC) and the other autoimmune diseases of the gastrointestinal tract can be very confusing and hard to recognize. These diseases can be so different, and yet alike, that the distinctions between them can be hard to understand. Knowing what these differences are, and which disease you or your friends suffer from, can help with understanding IBD. These many differences and similarities are the focus of this series. Inflammatory bowel disease Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is considered an autoimmune disease. It's manageable, but not curable. Bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis often are just assumed to be the same thing. And, while they are both members of the autoimmune disease category as IBD, and have many similarities but several differences, both are believed to be caused by things like genetics, environmental factors and an immune system gone renegade. Neither has a cure. Both diseases cause inflammation and symptoms within the patient’s digestive system, causing flares with times of remission, but only Crohn’s plays hopscotch throughout the bowels, with both inflamed portions and relatively healthy bowel walls. Crohn's disease Under the umbrella of IBD, Crohn’s disease can affect the patient top to bottom, from hair to feet, mouth to legs, inside and outside. Unlike ulcerative colitis, which affects the inside lining of the gastrointestinal tract focusing on the colon in most cases, Crohn’s disease can affect any layer and any portion of the bowel, leaving ulcerations, inflammation and many othe
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  1. Cheryl says:

    Hi just wanted to say this sounds like a great read and I’m excited to see what’s to come. I do want to point out you say “celiac can be diagnosed but no tests to find IBD”. As someone with Crohn’s I’ve gone through the testing, there is a way to diagnose IBD. It is with colonoscopies and endoscopic​ procedures as well biopsies of tissue in the intestine.
    Looking forward what you have to publish next.

    • Mary Horsley says:

      I understand what you are trying to say, but in my experience Celiac can be tested with a blood test or two, while IBD can take years, a number of scopes, scans, blood tests that can possibly show vague inflammation, and even then it can take longer. I just mean it takes a number of things and doctors judgment to diagnose Crohn’s or colitis because there are no specific tests for IBD. Sometimes it could even take surgeries before knowing. If that makes sense?

  2. Cheryl says:

    I understand what you are saying as I stated above I have gone through multiple testing to get my diagnosis I have not said all I went through or how long it took. As someone who has been diagnosed for over 10 years I found it misleading to say there’s no tests to find it, I can only imagine how someone new to the concept of Crohns or colitis might read that.
    A better way to word it is there is no specific test. This is educational and important for people to read but if the information is not given correctly then that leads to misconspections about getting a diagnosis and the disease itself. I hope that clears up what I meant.
    I do understand this is not medical advise, you are trying to educate others with what you know.

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