Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (or UC) are diseases of the large and small intestine.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus.
While UC affects only the colon and rectum.

Although Crohn’s and UC are different diseases, they share similar signs and symptoms.
These include abdominal pain and diarrhea, which may be bloody or watery.

Other signs and symptoms may include episodes of abdominal swelling, called a flare-up, with fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and pain, and weight loss.

In this article we discuss Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease and what a clinical trial is and how it can be beneficial if you have been diagnosed with any of these disorders.


What is Crohn’s Disease


Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract.
The disease is named after Dr. Burrill Crohn, who first described it in 1932.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage.

There is no cure for the disease, but treatment can help to control the symptoms. Some people with Crohn’s disease may need to take medication for the rest of their lives.




Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fever 
  • Weight loss

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Skin rashes 
  • Mouth ulcers 
  • Arthritis 

Crohn’s disease can affect the skin, eyes, joints, and kidneys.

There are a number of different symptoms that can be associated with Crohn’s disease, and not all patients will experience the same symptoms.

In some cases, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease may be mild, while in other cases they can be quite severe.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.


How Crohn’s Disease is Diagnosed


Crohn’s disease is characterized by periods of remission (no symptoms) and flare-ups (symptoms return).

The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.

There is no one test that can definitively diagnose Crohn’s disease. Instead, a diagnosis is typically made based on a combination of factors, including a medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.


An endoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a doctor to examine the inside of a person’s body using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera and light source at the end. The endoscope is inserted through a natural opening in the body, such as the mouth or anus, or through a small incision.
The procedure is usually performed under conscious sedation or general anesthesia and is considered safe and minimally invasive.


A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum. During the procedure, a flexible tube with a camera and light source at the end (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the colon. The doctor performing the procedure can view the inside of the colon on a monitor and can also remove any abnormal growths or tissue for biopsy.


Medical history:
Your doctor will ask about your family history, as well as your personal medical history. They’ll also ask about your symptoms, when they started, and how often they occur.

Physical examination:
A physical examination can help your doctor rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. During a physical examination, your doctor will also look for signs of inflammation, such as redness or swelling in the abdomen.


Laboratory tests:
Laboratory tests, such as blood tests and stool tests, can help your doctor confirm a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, may also be used to diagnose Crohn’s disease.


Treatment of Crohn’s Disease


There is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, but there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms and reduce the inflammation.

The most common treatments include medication, and lifestyle changes and, as a last resort, surgery.

Medications that are often used to treat Crohn’s disease include immunosuppressants such as azathioprine and methotrexate, and biologics and their biosimilars such as Infliximab, adalimumab, ustekinumab and vedolizumab.

Surgery may be an option for some people with Crohn’s disease, and it can help to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.   

Lifestyle changes that can help to manage Crohn’s disease include eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and reducing stress.


What is Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic bowel disease that affects the large intestine.

Ulcerative colitis is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The exact cause is unknown.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing flares.

Medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants, may be used. Surgery may be necessary in some cases.


Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis


The most common symptom of ulcerative colitis is bloody diarrhea.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping 
  • Rectal pain 
  • Weight loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Anemia 

Ulcerative colitis can be a painful and debilitating condition, but it is not life-threatening.

With proper treatment, most people with ulcerative colitis can lead normal, healthy lives.



How Ulcerative Colitis is Diagnosed

Ulcerative colitis is diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam, medical history, and laboratory tests.

The physical exam may reveal inflammation or ulcers in the colon.

The medical history will help to rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

Laboratory tests may include a stool sample, blood tests, and a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy is the most definitive test for ulcerative colitis, as it allows the doctor to directly visualize the inflammation and ulcers.


Clinical Trials at Spoke Research


Spoke Research Inc is a clinical research company dedicated to the clinical research of Diseases of the Immune System. 

Currently, we are specializing in “late phase” clinical trials for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, namely Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

Our aim is to facilitate future scientific advancement and medical knowledge of these illnesses. 

We recruit patient volunteers on behalf of and conduct clinical trials for, the pharmaceutical industry as well as international CRO’s. 

Our clinical trials have full South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) approval, as well as full Ethics approval.

Our staff are GCP accredited and include a gastroenterologist, general practitioner, nurse as well as a pharmacist.

Spoke Research Inc is situated in Milnerton, Cape Town and was established in 2017.

Spoke Research conducts clinical trials to explore and develop more effective cures and treatments for inflammatory bowel disease.

If you have been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease, you may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials.


Get Access to the Latest Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatments


Volunteering for Spoke Research clinical trials gives you access to the most current Inflammatory Bowel Disease treatments.

You will be treated by our gastrointestinal or GI specialist with a track record of diagnosing and treating various gastrointestinal conditions, as well as helping develop and improve therapies for disease management.


Participate in Safe and Secure Clinical Trials


Volunteers work with a team of GCP-accredited medical staff who are experienced in carefully designing, reviewing, and completing clinical trials for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

The latest health and safety protocols are observed to ensure the safety and security of our volunteers.

Spoke Research is committed to advancing the field of Inflammatory Bowel Disease prevention and treatments by conducting safe and ethical clinical trials.

If you are interested to enroll in our trial, please contact our clinical research staff to know more.

We are currently recruiting patient volunteers for an Ulcerative Colitis trial.





In conclusion, although Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis can be challenging to live with, it is important to remember that there are treatments available that can help to manage the symptoms and flares.

People with Crohn’s disease should work with their doctor to create a management plan that helps to keep symptoms under control.

As with any chronic illness, you will require to stay on top of your health, with the assistance of a qualified medical practitioner to guide you, at all times.

Dr George and Dr Deetlefs are clinical investigators at Spoke Research Inc and became involved in Clinical Research in 2017, and now runs the Inflammatory Bowel Disease trials.

If you’d like to take part in a clinical trial, join us here:

Apply for Crohn’s Disease Trial

Apply for Ulcerative Colitis Trial

We are here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of clinical research with years of experience.

Contact us to find out more on clinical trials and treatment.


Medical surveys

Future treatments are now one step closer. 

Contact us

Spoke Research Inc
Mediclinic Milnerton,
Suite 109
Racecourse Rd, Milnerton
Cape Town


Mon – Thurs: 08:00-15:00
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Sat: Closed

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