What are the two subtypes of inflammatory bowel disease, and how does pain typically present in inflammatory bowel disease patients?
Inflammatory bowel disease can be subdivided into Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Both of these diseases can present with abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, and weight loss. Pain is usually a more predominant symptom in patients with Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease affects all layers of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas ulcerative colitis only affects the inner walls of the gastrointestinal tract. Due to the transmural nature of Crohn’s disease, patients often develop strictures, which can cause intermittent colicky pain due to obstruction. Patients with Crohn’s also develop intraabdominal abscesses, which may present with pain and fevers. Other common manifestations of Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, anemia, and extraintestinal changes such as arthritis, uveitis, and skin rashes and ulcerations. Ulcerative colitis also presents with abdominal pain, often in context of bloody diarrhea and urgency. Extraintestinal manifestations are less common in UC than in Crohn’s.