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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Diagnosing Crohn's Disease

Diagnosing Crohn's Disease can be a tough one to make since it acts like so many other gastrointestinal (GI) diagnosis. All too often, patients suffering with Crohn's Disease are misdiagnosed with other GI ailments multiple times before officially diagnosing Crohn’s Disease. Symptoms absolutely vary from person to person and there are no strict guidelines for physicians to follow in diagnosingCrohn's disease. Therein lies the challenge. There is not one absolute test that your health care provider can use in diagnosing Crohn's disease definitively and so diagnosing Crohn's disease becomes a bit of a puzzle.

As your physician tries to determine if you do have Crohn's Disease or not, one of the easiest medical exams to help diagnosing Crohn’s Disease is a stool sample. This sample can help your doctor to determine if your bowel upset is caused by an infection or by inflammation.

Inflammation is one of the hallmark signs of diagnosing Crohn's Disease. With this disease, your GI tract acts as if your body is fighting an infection but in fact, there is no actual infection present. Again, a simple stool sample can tell your doc a lot about your gut.

Locations Of Crohn's Disease

An X-ray of your bowels can help you physician in diagnosing Crohn’s Disease. Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease from an X-ray reveal an inflamed bowel which looks dense and engorged. This appearance is due to the small ulcers that have entered the tissues of the intestine. What happens here is that the intestine is made narrow by the inflammation, resulting to cramping and pain that are often severe. Most common in this condition is diarrhea, which may have mucus and blood. This is one of the most comprehensive tests in diagnosing Crohn’s Disease.

Another more common way of diagnosing Crohn’s Disease is though a colonoscopy. For the colonoscopy, you will lie on your left side on the examining table. You will be given pain medication and a moderate sedative to keep you comfortable and help you relax during the exam. The doctor and a nurse will monitor your vital signs, look for any signs of discomfort, and make adjustments as needed. While this is one of the most invasive ways in diagnosing Crohn’s Disease it is also one of the most effective ways.

Your physician will then insert a long, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum and slowly guide it into your colon. The scope transmits an image of the inside of the colon onto a video screen so the doctor can carefully examine the lining of the colon. The scope bends so the doctor can move it around the curves of your colon. Most patients do not remember the procedure afterwards. Your physician might take a sample of your colon to help with diagnosing Crohn’s Disease.

Other tests such as a barium enema, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a capsule endoscopy, or even a CT scan of the abdomen may also help your health care provider in diagnosing Crohn’s Disease. Lab tests such as a complete blood count (CBC) can also tell if you are anemic due to blood loss. There are current studies developing new ways to help doctors in diagnosing Crohn’s Disease.

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