What are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
Crohn's disease (named after Dr Burrill B. Crohn, who discovered it) also called ileitis, is an inflammation of the small intestine (ileum). In most cases, the end of the small intestine, known as the terminal ileum, is affected; however, portions of the large intestine or the entire large intestine, oesophagus and stomach can also be inflamed.
Colitis is a term designating inflammations of parts of the colon (large intestine) or the entire colon. If these inflammations take the form of small or large ulcers, this is known as ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are chronic conditions. One of their characteristics is the episodic manner in which active phases of the disease alternate with phases of several months to years without any severe symptoms. However, these relapse-free intervals do not mean that the disease has been permanently cured.
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