If you believe that you have Crohn’s disease, the only way to know for certain is through an examination by a doctor and several types of medical tests. There are several conditions whose symptoms are similar to Crohn’s disease, so tests are necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will ask you about your medical history, including what your symptoms are, how long you have had them, and whether or not anyone else in your family has Crohn’s disease. It will probably be necessary to run more than one type of test to be certain of a correct diagnosis.
Lab tests to analyze your blood will be the first step in determining whether or not you have Crohn’s disease. The doctor will look for indications of inflammation or an infection. This involves testing your protein levels, red and white blood cell counts, and mineral levels. Your doctor may also check a sample of your stool for blood, mucus and microbe infections.
The next procedure that will be performed will be an imaging test. Crohn’s disease can show up anywhere in your digestive system from your mouth to your rectum and imaging tests will help identify the location and whether you do in fact have Crohn’s disease. Two types of imaging tests often used to diagnose this disease are Barium X-rays and CT scans.
For a barium X-ray, a dose of fluid containing barium is administered orally or rectally. The barium fluid shows up white on X-ray films, making it easy to detect fistulas, ulcers, diverticula and other problems in the intestines. With a CT (computerized topography) scan, computer-assisted X-rays will show more enhanced details in your intestines than a regular X-ray can. CT scans are helpful for detecting abscesses: small areas of infection that other X-rays cannot always detect.
Two other tests that a doctor may perform to make a diagnosis are a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. These procedures are the best way to confirm a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease because they allow a doctor to view the large intestine directly instead of viewing an image. In both of these procedures, a flexible tube is placed into the large intestine via the anus. In a sigmoidoscopy, the lowest section of the large intestine is examined. In a colonoscopy, all of the large intestine and the tip of the small intestine are viewed. During this process, the doctor can look for signs of Crohn’s such as bleeding, inflammation and ulcers.
If you are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, one of the best things you can do to alleviate flare-ups and help keep it in remission is to change your diet. Eating natural, unprocessed foods with help you avoid many of the known dietary triggers of Crohn’s disease. Food combining will also help keep symptoms down. In food combining, you eat combinations of foods that work with your stomach’s acids and enzymes and not against them. This means you’ll have an easier time digesting your food, which means less stress and less chance of heartburn, bloating and diarrhea. Discover all the benefits of food combining to help keep your Crohn’s disease in check and live a happier, healthier life.