What are the differences between Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis

With symptoms of bloody diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, frequent bowel movements and fatigue, Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis can seem very similar. There may be occasions where sufferers of Ulcerative Colitis will even abbreviate their condition to Colitis, which has led to many thinking the two conditions are the same. However there are differences between Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis which means that the management and treatment of the conditions will also be different.

Ulcerative Colitis is a long term condition of chronic inflammatory bowel disease, where the lining of the bowel walls becomes inflamed and ulcerated. Colitis is similar, but the condition may not be a long term one.

The word Colitis comes from col, (colon) and itis (inflammation of), so Colitis means inflammation of the colon. And as Ulcerative Colitis involves inflammation of the colon, it is easy to think the two conditions arte the same. The differences between Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis lies in the causes. Ulcerative Colitis is a long term, auto-immune condition, while Colitis has a cause which is not inflammatory bowel disease. There are many causes of Colitis including food poisoning, infection, bacteria, parasites or exposure to radiation. If under treatment from a doctor, they may identify c Colitis but this is not the same as Ulcerative Colitis.

In some cases Colitis may be less serious than Ulcerative Colitis. Colitis caused by food poisoning, for example, will be unpleasant and may make the sufferer feel very ill, but it soon passes and the sufferer regains their normal health. However it is important to remember that severity or duration is not one of the differences between Colitis and Ulcerative Colitis. For example, Colitis may be part of other chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. While it is not possible to suffer from Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, it is possible for Colitis to be part of Crohn’s disease and any sufferer of Crohn’s disease who gets inflammation of the colon will be told they have Colitis.

Anyone in any doubt as to which condition they suffer from, should consult their doctor as the management and long term implications may be different.