How is Crohn's Disease investigated?

The most common age to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease is between the ages of ten and forty; however a diagnosis can be confirmed at any age. Unfortunately there isn’t a one-off test available to confirm a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.

Sufferers will need to undergo various tests and investigations prior to a diagnosis of the disease being made.

After undergoing an initial health assessment by a GP further investigations are normally arranged by a hospital consultant. These may include:

  • Blood tests- blood tests can measure inflammation levels within the body, and whether there is an infection present.
  • Stool tests- in patients with diarrhoea to identify whether or not there is an underlying infection causing the symptoms.
  • Rigid sigmoidoscopy - may be carried out in clinic. This test allows the doctor to look at the lining of the lowest part of the bowel by passing a small tube via the back passage
  • Colonoscopy - this allows the inside of the colon and rectum to be examined through a long flexible tube being inserted via the back passage and up into the colon. This test can be used to determine the amount of inflammation inside the colon.  During the colonoscopy a biopsy can be taken to help with confirming a diagnosis.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy  - this allows the doctor to look at the lower part of the bowel using a shorter flexible tube inserted via the back passage. Again inflammation can be assessed and biopsies taken. The whole of the colon is not seen using this test.
  • Barium meal and follow through. This test involves drinking some barium and taking xrays of the abdomen. This test is used to examine the small intestine, which cannot be seen during a colonoscopy.
  • MRI enteroclysis- this is an investigation that involves an MRI scan to look at the small intestine. This test doesn’t involve any xrays.
  • MRI- this test is very useful for looking at abscesses infections or fistulas around the bottom.
  • CT scan- this test is very useful for looking at the small intestine and the colon. It is particularly useful for identifying inflammation in the bowel wall.  
What are the next steps?
If you think you have this condition or any of these symptoms
you will need to seek medical advice.
For more information or to make an appointment.
Contact birmingham bowel clinic on 0845 241 7762
or email enquiries@birminghambowelclinic.co.uk
If you have private medical care or wish
to pay to see a consultant.
Take this factsheet along to your own
GP and request a referral to one
of our consultants
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