Symptoms of Crohn’s disease will vary based on the area of the intestinal tract that is inflamed. That is why it is so important your doctor conduct the proper tests for an accurate diagnosis.
There are several different procedures a physician may employ. Often it will take a combination of tests to reach the best diagnosis of your condition.
Blood Work: This is when a blood sample is taken and tested for things like white and red blood cell count, sedimentation rates, low blood protein, and low blood mineral.
Barium X-ray: Barium is a chalky substance that allows your organs to be seen clearly on an X-ray. It is either ingested orally so a physician can view your stomach and small intestine or it is given via an enema so your physician can view your colon and terminal ileum. Barium allows the physician to see ulcerations, narrowing, and sometimes–even fistula, which is an abnormal connection of the bowel to another organ.
Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is a procedure where a doctor uses a small, flexible viewing tube to directly analyze the rectum and the large intestine. A colonoscopy is more accurate than a barium X-ray in detecting small ulcers or areas of inflammation within the colon or terminal ileum.
Biopsy: During a colonoscopy, your doctor may take a small tissue sample of the inflamed area for lab analysis.
Computer-Aided Tomography Scan: Also known as a CAT scan, this procedure utilizes computer imaging and X-ray scanning to produce a detailed image of the entire abdomen and pelvis. It is also very helpful in detecting abscesses, which are collections of pus that occur in the tissue, a cavity, or other confined area. CT Enterography is a new variation of the CT Scan that produces images of the intestines similar to barium X-rays.
Video Capsule Endoscopy: This modern electronic technique utilizes a capsule that contains a miniature camera. As the camera capsule travels through the small intestine, the video signal is transmitted back to the receiver. Your doctor is then able to analyze the images on a computer monitor.