Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract. Symptoms of Crohn’s include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and weight loss. There is no apparent cause or cure for Crohn’s disease, which makes it frustrating to manage.
A Progressive Illness
Crohn’s disease is progressive, meaning it starts in one area and spreads. In the early stages of the disease, you may have very few symptoms, like those that we mentioned above. Eventually, however, Crohn’s can cause structural changes in your gastrointestinal tract and abnormalities like abscesses, fistulas, and fissures.
Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause a number of conditions if left untreated for a long time. These conditions, called “extraintestinal symptoms” of Crohn’s include arthritis, vision loss, gallstones, and more.
If your doctor suspects that you have Crohn’s disease, the first thing they will do is order an endoscopy. This involves using a scope to look for inflammation and other tissue damage. In most cases, your doctor will order a colonoscopy, but they may also use a sigmoidoscopy (exam of the last third of the large intestine) or upper endoscopy.
If the endoscopy does not provide sufficient evidence of Crohn’s, the next step is to get an MRI. An MRI uses magnetic fields to create an accurate picture of the structures within your body. This can give doctors the visual they need to determine if an individual has Crohn’s disease or not.