How Do You Know It's Crohn's?

How Do You Know It's Crohn's?
Statistics show nearly half a million Americans have Crohn’s Disease. This is a chronic inflammation of the digestive system. Symptoms can include but are not limited to: abdominal cramping and pain a short time after eating, chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, night sweats and a recurring fever. Anyone with these symptoms needs to seek medical attention right away due to the serious nature of this medical condition. However, it is important to understand making a clear cut diagnosis of Crohn's can be difficult due to the fact these symptoms can fit other conditions. The only way to be sure is to visit your health care professional and rule out other possibilities. 

Because of the difficult challenge of making a diagnosis it is extremely important patients learn all they can about this condition and other related conditions. This way the patient and their doctor can work in tandem in determining whether or not he or she really has this condition. Keep in mind there is no single test which can determine whether or not you have this. You and your doctor will have to work together to rule out all of the possibilities and come to the right diagnostic conclusion. When a correct diagnosis has been reached, you can then begin treatment for relief of your symptoms.

Some of the other related conditions include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)-This is probably the first condition your doctor will be able to rule out. The reasoning here is people with this condition do not typically experience pain when having a bowel movement. In addition, their symptoms tend to go away when they are sleeping. This is vastly different from those with Crohn’s. Patients with this condition also do not tend to experience unexplained weight loss, anemia, rectal bleeding or a recurring fever which are all signs of inflammation. 
  • Celiac Disease-This condition is experienced when people have a certain sensitivity to gluten which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. Those individuals with this condition will find they are sustaining damage in their small intestine. However, this condition can also mimic the symptoms which are found associated with Crohn’s disease. The easiest way to rule out this condition is by endoscopy coupled with specific blood tests. Your health care provider will then recommend a gluten free diet to relieve your symptoms and heal your small intestine. 
  • Ulcerative Colitis and Diverticular Disease-This can be the most difficult condition to distinguish since the symptoms associated with these conditions are the most similar to Crohn’s. Keep in mind besides taking a detailed health history and having a complete physical exam your doctor may recommend a battery of lab work which will involve taking blood, urine, and stool in order to check for inflammation. 
The good news is when your doctor has been able to rule out the above listed conditions and make a clear diagnosis, you can then move on to managing and treating your Crohn’s symptoms and improving your quality of life.

Learn more about these conditions.  
For further information please link to this video

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