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What Is The Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis And Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis refers to inflammation of the diverticula, which are small pouches that form in the colon lining. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where people develop inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine.In this article, we compare symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, complications, and outlook of both conditions.Small pouches called diverticula can form in the colon lining and push out through weak spots in the outer wall of the colon. If a person has diverticula in their colon, they have what health experts refer to as diverticulosis.Diverticulitis is a condition where the diverticula become inflamed. Around 10–25% of individuals with diverticulosis may have diverticulitis.People may also use the term “diverticular disease” for diverticulitis or diverticular bleeding or if diverticula cause chronic symptoms.UC is an IBD where an overreactive immune system causes inflammation and ulcers to develop in the lining of the large intestine.UC is a chronic condition, and people may go through periods of remission, when they experience no symptoms of UC.In the table below, we compare the two conditions:In the sections below, we outline the symptoms of diverticulitis and UC.DiverticulitisSymptoms of diverticulitis may include:abdominal painconstipation or diarrheafeverchillsnausea or vomitingincreased urgency, frequency, or discomfort when urinating, if an inflamed part of the colon comes into contact with the wall of the bladderrectal bleedingPeople with diverticulitis usually experience severe and sudden abdominal pain, but they may also have mild pain that worsens over several days. The pain may be constant or come and go. Also, over time, the pain intensity may vary.UCSymptoms of UC can be mild to severe and can include:persistent diarrhearectal bleeding or blood in stoolcramping or abdominal painmucus or pus in stoolan urgent need to have a bowel movementa persistent urge to have a bowel movement, even if bowels are emptyUC symptoms can come on suddenly or start gradually and then worsen over time.Most people with UC have flares, which is when symptoms are present, and periods of remission, which is when no symptoms occur. Remission may last for weeks or years.Healthcare professionals do not know the exact cause of either condition. However, they are aware of factors that can increase the likelihood of developing diverticulitis or UC.DiverticulitisThere is no known cause of diverticulitis. Certain factors, however, may increase the risk of diverticular disease or cause its development. These include:geneticsstool or bacteria becoming trapped in a pouch in the colona change to the microbiome in the intestinesissues with muscles, nerves, or connective tissue in the colonissues with the immune systemLifestyle factors may also play a role, including:Diverticulitis affects both males and females. It is more common in males under the age of 50 years and in females aged 50–70 years. In people over 70 years, diverticulitis is more common in females.UCHealth experts do not know the exact cause of UC. They think, however, that the following may play a role:Genetics: UC can run in families, so having certain genes may increase the risk of developing UC.Overactive immune system: The immune system creates temporary inflammation to help protect and heal the body from infection or illness. With UC, inflammation continues for longer than necessary, leading to chronic inflammation and ulcers in the intestinal lining.Microbiome: There may be differences between the microbiomes in the digestive tract of people with IBD and individuals without IBD.Environment: External factors and surroundings may affect a person’s genes, immune system, and microbiome, potentially playing a role in IBD.Healthcare professionals may recommend the following treatment options:DiverticulitisTreatment for diverticulitis may include:antibioticsa temporary clear liquid diet, to allow the colon to restpain relief medication, such as acetaminophenIn severe cases, people may require surgery to remove a section of the colon.UCTreatment for UC may include long-term use of medications to control inflammation, such as:A person may require surgery to remove the colon and rectum if their symptoms do not improve or if they have colorectal cancer or any serious complications.Surgeons may also perform an ileostomy. They will attach the end of the ileum, which is a part of the small intestine, to an opening in the abdomen called a stoma. This allows the body to store and remove stools in an alternative way.To diagnose each of the two conditions, doctors may carry out a physical examination and order the following:A healthcare professional may order a colonoscopy to help diagnose diverticulitis and an endoscopy to diagnose UC.Diverticulitis and UC can cause the following complications:DiverticulitisComplications of diverticulitis may include:a pelvic abscess, when an infection causes a pus-filled pocket in the pelvic areaan intestinal perforation, which is a hole in the wall of the intestinea fistula, which is an abnormal opening that allows contents to leak outperitonitis, an infection in the lining of the abdomena blockage in the intestinessepsisrectal bleedingAccording to a 2020 meta-analysis, there is a small risk of colorectal cancer with diverticulitis. Older adults and those with complicated diverticulitis have a higher risk of developing this type of cancer.UCComplications of UC may include:rectal bleedingiron deficiency anemiaexpansion or tears in the colonblood clotsPSCMoreover, toxic megacolon and perforation are potential complications that may warrant emergency surgery and colectomy.In long-term cases of UC, there is an increased risk of precancerous changes and colorectal cancer. PSC can also increase the risk of bile duct cancer.People can take the following steps to help prevent UC and diverticulitis from developing:DiverticulitisFactors that may help lower the risk of developing diverticulitis include:eating a diet high in fiber and low in red meatengaging in regular physical activityavoiding smokingreaching or maintaining a moderate body weightIf people have diverticulitis without any complications, a doctor may suggest surgery to remove part of the colon to prevent diverticulitis from reoccurring.UCPreventive measures for UC include:The outlook for each condition can depend on a variety of factors.DiverticulitisThe outlook for people with diverticulitis can depend on a range of factors, including:severity of the conditiona person’s age and overall healthany coexisting conditionsMost people with uncomplicated diverticulitis will have a positive response to treatment. Around 15% of people may require surgery to treat diverticulitis. After successful treatment, one-third of people will not have any symptoms, one-third will experience mild symptoms, and one-third will have recurrent diverticulitis.UCUC is a chronic condition that a person will need to manage throughout their life.Managing flare-ups and uncomfortable symptoms can be difficult for some individuals, but effective treatment can help people lead a relatively normal life.By managing their condition, some individuals with UC may experience remission for weeks or even years.Diverticulitis is a condition where small pouches form in the intestinal lining and become inflamed. UC is a type of IBD in which an overactive immune response causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine.Medication and lifestyle factors can help manage both conditions, which in turn may help a person relieve symptoms or maintain remission.In severe cases, people may require surgery to remove part of the colon or rectum.
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