Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis
If you suspect you have Crohn’s disease, then it’s worth getting yourself to a physician as soon as possible. The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease are similar to other inflammatory bowel disorders, and therefore must be identified correctly before treatment can be begin. Diagnosis of Crohn’s disease may be done in any of the following manners:
Initial Assessment of Crohn’s Disease
The number one thing a doctor will do is ask you specific questions about your diet and medication. A good physician may also inquire about whether you have been travelling recently, and whether or not you have developed diarrhea while abroad. You may also be asked to present a medical family background to see if a close family member has had previous problems with Crohn’s disease and/or other inflammatory bowel disorders. This is an important step in diagnosing Crohn’s disease as this disorder can run in the family.
Providing Samples for Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis
After initial assessment confirmation that what you are feeling is more than just a stomach ache or ordinary diarrhea, then a blood test will follow. One of the reasons this test is necessary is because Crohn’s disease may cause rectal bleeding. If bleeding has been occurring for a while, your blood test results may show that you have become anemic or that you lack red blood cells. Blood tests also show if you have signs of infection and inflammation.
You may be asked for a stool sample. This sample will be thoroughly checked for the presence of blood and mucus. Results of your stool test will show if your signs and symptoms are due to a parasitic infection (which can be diagnosed by the presence of parasite eggs in your stool) or other conditions.
Other Tests for Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease
Once both the stool and blood sample have been examined, other tests may be carried out as necessary:
This test involves the use of a long tube inserted into your colon through the rectum ; a camera is attached to the end of this tube, which will provide the medical staff with the images they require to determine the level of inflammation of your colon. A surgical tool may be located near the camera in order to obtain a small tissue sample from different portions of your digestive tract. This allows the observation of tissue cells for changes in shape and appearance, which may be related to Crohn’s disease.
Magnetic Resonance Enterography (MRE) Scans
MRE scans may be necessary to safely observe the patient’s small intestine without using x-ray radiation. Pictures are created showing a detailed depiction of the interior of your small intestine to check for signs of inflammation and irritation.
Small Bowel Contrast Studies
A small bowel contrast study allows the medical staff to observe the whole length of your small intestine, not just the last 20cm as in a colonoscopy. This procedure requires drinking a contrast agent such as gastrograffin or barium which covers the linings of your small intestine, allowing the organ to show up clearly on an x-ray. The x-rays produced from this procedure will then be examined for signs of damage or inflammation, or narrowing.