Crohn's Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Crohn's disease can be difficult to diagnose. The disease may go undiagnosed for years because symptoms usually develop gradually and the same part of the intestine is not always involved. Other diseases can also have the same symptoms as Crohn's disease. But Crohn's disease tends to cause the intestine to have a cobblestone appearance, which can help doctors diagnose it. The pattern results from the repeated formation and healing of sores (ulcers) in the intestine.
Tests used to diagnose Crohn's disease include:
A biopsy of a sample of tissue from the lining of the intestine, collected during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, can be used to confirm the diagnosis of Crohn's disease. A biopsy also may be done to find out whether a tumor is present. Multiple biopsies for cancer screening are often done in people who have had Crohn's disease of the colon or rectum for 8 years or more. Bowel biopsies are painless (other than the potential discomfort of the scope procedure) and remove only a tiny piece of tissue.
A stool analysis is often done, depending on symptoms, to look for blood, signs of bacterial infection, malabsorption, parasites, or the presence of white blood cells. This test can be used to distinguish Crohn's disease from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a less serious condition that sometimes has similar symptoms.
Other exams and tests that may also be used to evaluate Crohn's disease include:
No screening test exists for Crohn's disease at this time. But if you have had Crohn's disease affecting the colon or rectum for 8 years or longer, discuss with your doctor whether you need screening for colon cancer. Screening usually involves taking multiple-tissue biopsies during routine colonoscopy.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies