Crohn's Disease: Diagnosis Difficult, Treatment Worse?

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Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the digestive, or, GI tract. (KFSN)

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the digestive, or, GI tract.

It causes inflammation, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue. It is often misdiagnosed for ulcerative colitis, or, IBS. Discover fact from fiction when it comes to diagnosing Crohn's disease.

Crohn's can attack anywhere in the GI tract. Symptoms can also affect the eyes, skin and joints.

David Suskind, MD, Director of Clinical Gastroenterology at the Seattle Children's Hospital said, "There are a lot of other symptoms that can be associated with Crohn's as well including joint pain, current oral ulcers, skin tags."

With such a wide possible area Crohn's can affect, it's difficult for doctors to diagnose it correctly. In a recent survey of people with inflammatory bowel disease, one in ten Crohn's patients said they were misdiagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Also, there's not just one test to diagnose the condition. Patients are likely to go through multiple tests and procedures, such as blood tests, fecal tests, x-rays, even a colonoscopy to get a definitive diagnosis. There is also no known cause for Crohn's.

To get a quick and clear diagnosis, rule out any other health problems that can have similar issues, gather information about your family history to see if any blood relative may have had the condition and have doctors determine which part of the GI tract is affected. The earlier the diagnosis, the quicker you can start treatment to relieve symptoms.

There is no cure for Crohn's disease. There are medications to relieve symptoms and maintain remission. Surgery is also another option, but the relief may be temporary.
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