Colitis Home > Ulcerative Colitis Versus Crohn's Disease

The table below compares and contrasts two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are different from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that affects the intestines but does not cause inflammation.
Ulcerative Colitis Versus Crohn's Disease
Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn's Disease
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Pus or mucus in the stool
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • A frequent fever.
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Pain and tenderness in the abdomen, especially the lower right side
  • A low-grade fever
  • Anemia
  • Sometimes constipation because of a blockage
  • Slowed growth and delayed sexual development in some childhood cases.
  • Only the top layers of the walls of the colon or rectum (most often in the lower part of the colon and rectum).


  • Rectum affected 95 percent of the time.
  • The inflammation begins at the rectum and moves up the colon in a continuous manner. There are no areas of normal intestine between the areas of diseased intestine.


  • Deep in the lining of the walls of the colon and/or small intestine


  • Any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus


  • Rectum affected 50 percent of the time
  • Inflammation usually happens in patches along the digestive tract, with "skip areas" of healthy tissue in between.



(Click on Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease for more information on either of these conditions.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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