Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are chronic inflammatory maladies of the GI system that affect over one million people in the US and several many million worldwide. The large intestine is commonly affected, leading to either ulcerative colitis (UC) or IBD type unclassified (IBDU), in addition to a subset of noncomplicated Crohn’s disease (CD). When the disease spreads to other gastrointestinal segments, this leads to CD.
A customized clinical management plan is critical in the differential diagnosis in patients presenting with IBD colitis since each disease involves specific therapeutic and management strategies. In addition, less common forms of either UC or Crohn’s colitis still present difficult clinical issues since no universally accepted set of diagnostic criteria exists. In fact, it is estimated that between 5% to 15% of cases do not meet strict criteria for either UC or CD; explaining why up to 14% of the diagnoses for patients with UC or CD change over time.1