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Crohn's Disease - Exams and Tests

Crohn's disease is diagnosed through a medical history and physical exam, imaging tests to look at the intestines, and lab tests.

It may go undiagnosed for years, because symptoms usually develop gradually and it doesn't always affect the same part of the intestine.

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Diagnosing Crohn's Disease

There isn't any one test that can tell you whether or not you have Crohn's disease. And Crohn's disease has many possible symptoms that are the same as symptoms for other health problems. So, to make a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, your doctor is likely to gather information from multiple sources. You'll probably go through a combination of exams, lab tests, and imaging studies with these goals in mind: Rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms Make a clear diagnosis of C...

Read the Diagnosing Crohn's Disease article > >

Other diseases can have the same symptoms as Crohn's disease. But doctors can diagnose Crohn's by doing a test that looks at the inside of the intestine.

Diagnostic tests

Other tests

Other tests may be done to confirm or evaluate the disease.

  • Biopsy: This test is done on a sample of tissue collected during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. A biopsy also may be done to find out if a tumor is present. Bowel biopsies are painless (other than the possible discomfort of the scope procedure). They remove only a tiny piece of tissue.
  • Stool analysis: This may be done to look for blood, signs of bacterial infection, malabsorption, parasites, or the presence of white blood cells. It can help tell the difference between Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can have similar symptoms.
  • Video capsule endoscopy (VCE): This test takes pictures of the digestive tract using a tiny camera that you swallow. The images are recorded by a device that you wear on your belt. The test allows your doctor to see the small intestine, which is hard to see with other tests.
  • Small bowel enteroscopy: This test uses a long, lighted flexible tube with a tiny camera that sends pictures of the small intestine to a video screen. This helps the doctor look at the small intestine. The doctor can also take small samples of the tissue.
  • Blood tests to find antibodies: These tests can sometimes help the doctor tell if you have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. These tests include anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody with perinuclear staining (pANCA), anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibody (ASCA), and outer membrane porin C (Omp C).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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