Skip to main content

Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?

Crohn’s disease is suspected in people who have been experiencing symptoms such as chronic abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and weight loss. Symptoms that lasts for weeks or months are key areas for suspicion of Crohn’s disease. As the Crohn’s disease can mimic the similar conditions, and has no single conclusive test to establish its diagnosis, it can take time to correct arrive at this diagnosis. The medical investigation will include a series of Crohn’s disease specific tests to come to a conclusion:

  • Complete personal medical history, including full review of all symptoms
  • Complete family history
  • Physical examination
  • Examination of stool samples to rule out infectious diseases or check for blood in the stool
  • Complete blood count (CBC) or full blood count (FBC), which can provide additional clues to one’s overall health. For example, low levels of red blood cells can suggest internal bleeding and the presence of anaemia. A high white blood cell count, a higher-than-normal level of C-reactive protein (CRP), or a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) can indicate the presence of inflammation somewhere in the body.
  • Internal investigations, including:
  • Taking of barium sulphate suspension, followed by x-rays to show areas of inflammation in the stomach and the small intestine
  • Barium enema (if the disease is suspected lower down the GI tract) followed by x-rays to show areas of inflammation in the colon and rectum
  • Endoscopy, to determine the extent and severity of disease. Depending on the suspected location of the inflammation, there are a number of different endoscopy procedures that will be performed, including:
    • sigmoidoscopy if examination is limited to the rectum and sigmoid colon
    • colonoscopy if the entire colon is viewed
    • ileocolonoscopy if the colon and distal ileum are viewed
    • enteroscopy if the small bowel is viewed
    • gastroscopy if the stomach and upper duodenum are viewed.

During these procedures, a biopsy (examining a small sample of tissue under a microscope) might be done. The characteristic pattern of Crohn’s disease under microscopic examination can distinguish it from other diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis or colorectal cancer.

Other types of investigations that are helpful in diagnosing Crohn’s disease are computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. All of these investigations give the medical team a look inside the body without the need for invasive procedures such as the insertion of a needle or instrument. Your clinical team will advise you if any of these procedures is right for you.

Additional Information:

The latest news and Research

News

IBD is misunderstood

Posted: January 16 2020

Although a 2017 review forecasted that there will be about 2.2 million Americans and about 0.5% of Western Europeans living with IBD in 2025, other reports suggested that the disease is not universally understood. “There are a lot of misunderstandings about IBD,” Paul Feuerstadt MD, FACG, AGAF said. For example, a survey of 409 general practitioners in […]

Read more

News

Diet as therapy for IBD remains hindered by knowledge gaps

Posted: January 16 2020

As patients with Crohn’s disease seek guidance on how to handle their condition, there remains a knowledge gap regarding what, if any, specific dietary recommendations could become a mainstay therapy, according to a presentation at Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2019. “We don’t have enough definitive research to say that one diet is the right answer for […]

Read more

Research

Infants born to mothers with IBD present with altered gut microbiome

Prenatal and early life bacterial colonisation is thought to play a major role in shaping the immune system.

IBDs, comprising Crohn’s disease (CD) and UC, result from aberrant mucosal immune responses to bacteria in genetically susceptible individuals.1 2 While family history is the strongest risk factor for developing IBD, the genetic loci associated with risk do not fully explain disease heritability.1 IBD affects women during their reproductive years and 25% become pregnant after diagnosis. […]

Read more

Research

Tailoring treatment withdrawal in inflammatory bowel disease

Patients may not relapse over mid-term and those who have relapsed may have benefited from a drug-free period before being treated again.

There is currently no cure for inflammatory bowel disease. Most recent treatments and treatment strategies allow for healing intestinal lesions and maintaining steroid-free remission in a subset of patients. These patients and their doctors often ask themselves whether the treatment could be withdrawn. Several studies in both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have demonstrated a […]

Read more

Personal Story

I tried 22 different medications before an electrical implant healed my Crohn’s disease

Posted: January 15 2020

When I was in the eighth grade, my life changed forever. I was tap dancing during a play rehearsal and twisted my ankle. It sounds pretty innocuous, right? But what followed was a big shock. At first, the swelling in my ankle seemed normal. After a few weeks my ankle was just as swollen as […]

Read more

News

What to know about Crohn’s and the eyes

Posted: January 9 2020

Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include cramps, diarrhea, and bloody stool. However, Crohn’s disease can also cause symptoms outside the digestive tract. These include skin complications, problems with joints, and eye disorders. About 10% of people with Crohn’s disease have eye-related symptoms or conditions. Due to the sensitivity of the tissues in the eye, symptoms may occur in this […]

Read more