ZocdocAnswersDo I have Crohn's disease?

Question

Do I have Crohn's disease?

I have diarrhea and stomach cramping that I can't explain. Could this be Crohn's disease? How can I be tested for it?

Answer

Crohn's Disease is only one possible cause of stomach cramping and diarrhea. Crohn's Disease, like ulcerative colitis, is an autoimmune disease in which the gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed. In the case of Crohn's, this inflammation can occur in any portion of the GI tract. Clues that may point more toward a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's include weight loss, signs of malnutrition, blood in the stool, and a family history of Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. Other causes of abdominal cramping and diarrhea include irritable bowel syndrome, gastroenteritis, lactose intolerance and celiac disease. The initial evaluation of your symptoms should start with a visit to the primary care doctor for a thorough medical history and physical exam. Blood tests can be used to detect any anemia and inflammation that may be due to underlying inflammatory bowel disease. A rectal exam can be done to test for blood in the stool. If there is a concern for a more serious process such as Crohn's, a referral to a gastroenterologist can be made, and an evaluation with colonoscopy can be done. A colonoscopy will allow the doctor to detect changes consistent with inflammatory bowel disease, and biopsies can be performed to allow analysis of the tissue by a pathologist to help make a diagnosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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