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What are the differences between different types of colitis?

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Quick Answer

The many diseases that cause colitis, or inflammation of the bowel, differ in severity, additional symptoms and treatments, according to Healthline. These diseases include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, microscopic colitis and Behcet's disease. They all fall under the category of inflammatory bowel disorders.

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Full Answer

The immune systems of people with inflammatory bowel disorders attack the lining of the colon, causing the colitis, states Healthline. In microscopic colitis, the symptoms are abdominal pain, fecal incontinence, diarrhea, weight loss and nausea, reports Mayo Clinic. The disease requires a microscope to identify the inflammation and is treated mainly with diet.

Ulcerative colitis has the additional symptoms of blood in the stool and ulcers in the colon, notes Healthline. Some people may not experience symptoms at all, unlike with other forms of colitis. Other people may have long periods of remission between flare-ups. Treatment is medication, though 25 to 40 percent of sufferers may eventually need surgery.

Crohn's disease affects the small intestine, skin, eyes and liver, in addition to the colon, explains Healthline. People with Crohn's disease may develop blockages and fistulas. Up to 75 percent of patients may require surgery to remove some of the colon.

Behcet's disease affects blood vessels throughout the body, according to the American Behcet's Disease Association. This causes inflammation and sores in many parts of the body, including the colon. Unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, Behcet's disease is rare in the United States.

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