Crohns Disease vs. Celiac Disease; Is There A Difference?

Crohns disease (CrD) is an inflammatory bowel disease that, along with ulcerative colitis and other conditions, causes inflammation (swelling) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

CrD disease can actually affect any part of your digestive tract, from the mouth all the way to the rectum. However, Crohn’s most commonly involves inflammation of the last part of the small intestine (known as the ileum) and the colon, which includes most of the large intestine. Around 500,000 Americans are believed to be suffering from Crohn's disease.

There are many similarities to celiac disease (CD). Here are the most common ones:

* Both are autoimmune diseases that attack the digestive tract.

* Both diseases affect the digestive system, specifically the small intestine.

* Both diseases cause inflammation and pain to the abdomen and intestines.

* Both can cause weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea, skin problems, anemia, acid reflux and just plain discomfort in the digestive tract and/or intestines.

* Both require special attention to eating specific foods.

* Both diseases are often misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS).

* Both diseases can be diagnosed by blood tests that detect antibodies or an endoscopy to visually see intestinal problems.

* Both diseases do not have cures at this time, only treatment.

* Both diseases have been linked genetically. Each has higher risk factors if family members also have the disease.

There are some differences. Here are the most notable ones:

* CrD can affect the entire digestive tract from the mouth to the anus; celiac disease is more isolated to the small intestine.

* CrD can be treated by drug therapy, diet and even surgery. CD is treated solely by a 100% gluten free diet.

* CrD can cause bleeding, CD disease rarely causes bleeding.

* CrD can flare up from time to time and then go into remission; CD usually is symptom free as long as the patient maintains a strict gluten free diet.

Whether you have crohns disease or celiac disease, they both require lifelong care and treatment. Most people can live long healthy lives with both diseases. There are many support groups and resources available. Return from Crohns Disease to Home Page

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