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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari on March 22, 2022

Quiz: Do You Have Crohn’s Disease Or Ulcerative Colitis?

Although both are autoimmune diseases, Crohn's disease may affect your entire digestive tract while ulcerative colitis is confined to the large intestine. Take our quiz to learn more about which condition you may have.

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Many people confuse Crohn’s disease with ulcerative colitis. However, there are distinct differences between the two that can help you pinpoint what your symptoms indicate.

Take our quiz to determine whether your symptoms indicate that you may have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Then read on to learn tips for managing each condition.

Do You Have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis? 

Learning if you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis allows you to develop a plan that helps prevent symptom flare-ups. Let’s discover what your answers suggest. Here’s what your quiz answers might mean.

If you answered mostly “No”

Your symptoms are indicative of Crohn’s disease. From a clinical perspective, there are no proven risk factors. Though, it’s worth noting that Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. Simply put, it’ll provoke your immune system to attack healthy tissue.

Separately, a few other factors can also play a role in you developing the disease. These include genetics, cigarette smoking, a previous stomach infection, and abnormal levels of gut bacteria. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the causes of Crohn’s disease relate to pathogenic factors. These are Cold, Dampness, Heat, Blood Stasis, and Qi Stagnation. Such factors may arise from a stressful working environment and unhealthy lifestyle habits and disrupt the functions of various organs, including the Heart, Liver, Spleen, Stomach, and Small and Large Intestines. 

Tips For Managing Crohn’s Disease

Avoiding processed foods and eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Management of this disease involves consulting a gastroenterologist. Upon assessing the severity of your symptoms, the expert will prescribe treatment options that help control them.

Steroid medication can reduce inflammation in the digestive system. Alternative medications – tablets or injections – may be suggested to reduce immune system activity and avert potential flare-ups. In some cases, a gastroenterologist will perform a surgical procedure to remove a small part of the digestive system. 

According to Real Health Medical Senior Physician Brandon Yew, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can also help manage Crohn’s disease symptoms. Acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and tuina are several treatments that a TCM physician may recommend to address your unique body constitution. 

“Acupressure is an easy, self-help remedy that requires you to place fingers or a blunt object like a massage stick at certain acupoints and apply the appropriate amount of pressure to elicit an aching sensation or numbness. At the same time, massage the acupoint in a clockwise and anti-clockwise circular motion. Do this 20 times each and repeat for at least 3 minutes per acupoint,” says Physician Yew.

Some of these acupoints are He Gu (LI4), Zhong Wan (RN12), Tian Shu (ST25), and Shui Dao (ST28). 

Adding Poria (Fu Ling), Chinese yam (Shan Yao) or lotus seeds (Lian Zi) to porridge or soup can help ease Crohn’s disease symptoms. Do seek professional guidance on the combination of herbs you can use based on your body constitution. Otherwise, you can make lifestyle changes to relieve symptoms of the disease. 

“Cut down on alcohol and smoking. Try to achieve a work-life balance. Eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, and get sufficient sleep. Reduce your consumption of oily, fried, fatty, spicy, sugared, and processed foods. Drink warm, plain water instead of cold, sweetened beverages to prevent pathogenic factors from occurring,” advises Physician Yew. 

If you answered mostly “Yes”

You potentially have ulcerative colitis. Like Crohn’s disease, there aren’t any known causes for the condition. However, gastroenterologists do believe that it relates to an abnormality of the immune system in the intestines. A person who eats a high-fat diet or takes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also develop the disease. 

Meanwhile, TCM states that the condition results from Dampness and Heat attacking the Large Intestine. Consequently, this disrupts the organ’s ability to transport food and waste products through the digestive tract efficiently. This Dampness-Heat interaction can also present as clinical symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or blood or mucus-rich stools. 

Tips For Managing Ulcerative Colitis

A gastroenterologist performs different tests after a physical examination to diagnose ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. A blood test can help identify either condition by indicating bleeding in the colon or rectum. Stool samples can exhibit signs of inflammation. Imaging and endoscopic tests can help assess the health of your colon and rectum. It can also help differentiate the two conditions.

The expert will then recommend various medications, depending on the severity of your condition. Amino salicylates are effective for people with mild to moderate symptoms. Corticosteroids work for severe ulcerative colitis. The use of immunomodulators can calm an overactive immune system.

Biologics can help manage the condition by quieting parts of the immune system. Janus kinase inhibitors can inhibit the body’s enzymes from triggering inflammation. Sometimes, the expert will also perform a surgical procedure to stop uncontrollable symptoms. This also helps steer clear of medication side effects, reduces a person’s risk of colon cancer, and eliminates life-threatening complications, like bleeding. 

Alternatively, a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that powder derived from a herbal ingredient called Indigo Naturalis (Qing Dai) can suppress ulcerative colitis. The use of this powder enabled 6 people with intractable ulcerative colitis to discontinue using prednisolone – a corticosteroid used to control the condition.

These findings coincide with the results of another study in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine, which showed the conjunctive use of shrubby sophora (Ku Shen) and Radix Pulsatillae (Bai Tou Weng) with acupuncture was more effective than antibiotics in managing ulcerative colitis. The acupoints you can stimulate include Lie Que (LU7), Shu Gu (BL65), San Yin Jiao (SP6), and Zu San Li (ST36).

Additionally, research shows that taking a probiotic supplement may help ease symptoms of irritable bowel disease.

Knowing if your symptoms are that of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can improve your quality of life. Seek treatment early to improve your condition more successfully. If this quiz has helped you understand your condition, share it with loved ones!

References

  1. NHS. Crohn’s Disease.  
  2. MedicineNet. 2019. Ulcerative Colitis: Symptoms & Signs
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Ulcerative Colitis
  4. Hindawi. 2018. Development of a Traditional Chinese Medicine Syndrome-Specific Scale for Ulcerative Colitis: The Large Intestine Dampness-Heat Syndrome Questionnaire. 
  5. HealthCMI. 2013. Chinese Herb & Acupuncture Clear Ulcerative Colitis Research
  6. PointFinder. Colitis
  7. Medicine Journal. 2018. The Clinical Effects of Probiotics For Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Meta Analysis. 

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Reviews (2)

BorisAug 30 2022

Is it not the opposite? Mostly NO would be Crohn, and mostly YES would be colitis (mucus, blood etc…)

All Things Health TeamSep 12 2022

Hi Boris, thank you for the feedback, and we are amending the article to reflect the accurate information.

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