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Endoscopy in Crohn's Disease

Facts about endoscopy in diagnosing Crohn's disease

Patient Comments
  • There is no simple lab test that allows a definitive diagnosis of Crohn's disease. If a person has symptoms suggesting inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), their primary health-care professional or gastroenterologist will probably recommend endoscopy ("scope").
  • Endoscopy is a test in which a thin tube with a light and a tiny camera at the end is inserted into your digestive tract. The camera transmits pictures back to a video monitor, where they are magnified so the doctor can see exactly what the inside of the digestive tract looks like.
  • The endoscope shows ulcers, bleeding, and other signs of Crohn's disease and indicates the location and extent of the disease within the digestive tract.
  • With endoscopy, the doctor can tell whether a person has Crohn's disease or a similar condition called ulcerative colitis (or some other condition).
  • Ulcerative colitis, like Crohn's disease, affects one section of the large intestine (colon) only, while Crohn's disease is more likely to affect the small intestine and often attacks different parts of the digestive tract with normal tissue in between ("skip lesions").
  • Symptoms of Crohn's disease depend upon the part of the digestive tract affected; but may include:
  • Endoscopy allows the doctor to not only see the inside of the digestive tract, but also to take small samples (biopsies) of tissue for further examination under a microscope. This can help confirm the diagnosis and show the extent of Crohn's disease.

Last Reviewed 6/27/2016
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Crohn's Disease Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease depends on the area of the digestive tract that is affected; however, may include:

  • Diarrhea that waxes and wanes, and the stool may contain pus, mucus, or blood
  • Pain in the lower right part of the abdomen or around the belly button that is crampy or steady
  • Constipation
  • Pain or bleeding with bowel movement
  • Low-grade fevers

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Crohn Disease »

Crohn disease is an idiopathic, chronic, transmural inflammatory process of the bowel that often leads to fibrosis and obstructive symptoms, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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