Many intestinal disorders have similar symptoms, which can make diagnosis difficult. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (which includes both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as IBD) in particular have several symptoms in common. The differences between IBD and IBS are actually significant, although it might not seem that way on the surface.

IBS and Ulcerative Colitis Are Different
IBS is often confused with ulcerative colitis or colitis, but they are not the same condition. IBS is a syndrome, not a disease, it does not lead to colon cancer, and it does not cause bleeding. Ulcerative colitis, however, is a disease, can put patients at risk for colon cancer, and bleeding is a common symptom.

Differences in Treatments for IBD and IBS
Therapy and medications for IBS vary hugely from those for IBD. An incorrect diagnosis and treatment plan can not only be ineffective but in some cases also be dangerous.

The tables below are by no means a complete or hard and fast list of signs and symptoms, but do give a general idea of the basic distinguishing factors between IBS and IBD.

See Below for a Table on the Differences Between IBS and IBD


1. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. "About Ulcerative Colitis & Proctitis" CCFA.org Jul 25 2008. 2 Jun 2009. 2. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. "What Are the Symptoms?" CCFA

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