There is no single Crohns disease test that provides a definitive diagnosis. Usually a thorough physical examination and a series of tests are performed if symptoms are present.
A blood test for Crohns disease will be carried out to look for an indication of anemia, a condition that may point to bleeding in the intestines. Blood tests will also look for a high white blood cell count, which could be an indication of inflammation. A stool sample will tell if there is bleeding or infection in the intestines.
Crohns disease is a persistent condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. It is related to ileitis. The swelling can be painful and cause the intestines to empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.
This inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, has symptoms akin to irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, which makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose. It affects both men and women equally and runs in some families. People of Jewish heritage have an increased risk of developing it and African Americans have a decreased risk.
The Crohns disease test may also entail drinking barium, a chalky substance that will coat the small intestine, prior to taking an x-ray. It will show as white on the x-ray and help the doctor detect inflammation or other issues within the intestines. The physician may also perform a visual examination of the colon, performed through a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy as part of the Crohns disease test.
No food is known to cause Crohns disease but use of alcohol, hot spices, milk products and bulky grains may increase cramps and diarrhea during a flare-up. Anxiety and stress tend to aggravate the condition as well.
Crohns disease often appears to be in remission for long periods of time. Most people can function normally with it with relatively few limitations. Patients are encouraged to maintain a healthy diet with lots of exercise. There are also a number of treatments available, including cortisone or steroids, anti-inflammation medication, immune system suppressors, antibiotics and infliximab, a drug that blocks the body’s inflammation response.
Surgery is a common result and may involve removing a portion of the bowel or draining an abscess. Surgery does not cure the condition so doctors perform as little surgery as possible in the treatment program..but in many cases is it required.
If you have Crohns disease symptoms you are advised to see your family doctor, who will likely request a blood test for Crohns disease and follow the diagnostic procedures mentioned above.