Why is it difficult to diagnose?

At 9 o’clock Natalie Rosenthal started terrible stomach pain, Malaise, When diarrhea.. She had a bear under her eyes. She stopped getting taller and gaining weight.

“I had convulsions every time I ate something,” says Rosenthal, now 40. “The pediatrician first told my mother that I had a nervous stomach.” A calming drug Muscle cramps It didn’t help, so her mother urged another diagnosis.

“She was a real Tiger Mama,” says Rosenthal, who lives in Atlanta. “She kept taking me back to the doctor. She said I wasn’t a nervous kid and I wasn’t afraid or anxious about school or socializing. She said,” This is No It’s psychological. “

A year later, a gastroenterologist performed a colonoscopy on Rosenthal, showing that he had Crohn’s disease rather than nerves.The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are: Stomachache, Fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, Or vomiting, so doctors can mistake it for other conditions.Test to show inflammation Or that damage, such as a lesion, can reveal the correct diagnosis.

Different people, different symptoms

Crohn’s disease is caused by an abnormal immune system that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The disease is difficult for doctors to identify because it can affect different parts of the tube. This means that not everyone will have the same symptoms, says Edward V. Loftus Jr., a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“It’s important to rule out other conditions because the symptoms haven’t been identified,” he says.

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and malaise can also be associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease, Loftus said.

Mild inflammation may not show up on a blood test.Your doctor may mistakenly think you have anemia Not from low iron, but from bleeding associated with low iron and Crohn’s disease. Infectious diseases like Salmonella, E. coli, When tuberculosis There may also be symptoms like Crohn’s disease.

Treatments for these conditions are quite different, says Loftus, so it’s important to do a definitive test before you start, says Loftus.

You can help the process

Dr. Shamitasher, MD, Medical Director of the New Orleans Oxner Health System’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, talks about all current and past symptoms so doctors can pinpoint clues to Crohn’s disease.

She says, “Some people have bloody stool-like symptoms. They think,” Oh, that’s just that. ” hemorrhoid.. It’s gone and will come back months and even years later. “

Don’t keep the symptoms from your doctor as you’re confused or don’t think it’s a big deal. And don’t wait until it becomes unbearable, Shah says. There is a risk of intestinal damage or more intense treatment is needed.

“I saw a patient come to the hospital to have surgery appendicitis, And it turned out to be Crohn’s disease, “she says.

Get the right test

Blood tests may show signs of inflammation, but your doctor will probably need to look inside your digestive tract to diagnose you, Shah says.

“Crohn’s disease can affect you anywhere from your mouth to your anus, so you need to look for signs of inflammation,” she says. These include skipped lesions, or areas of inflamed tissue next to areas that look normal.

These are the most common tests:

  • Colonoscopy uses a small camera that is inserted into the anus through a long tube during sedation or sleep.
  • Enterography is a type of scan that shows your cross section Digestive system..
  • Endoscopy may show lesions of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

If these tests still don’t show Crohn’s disease, it’s a good idea for your doctor to do a wireless capsule endoscopy, says Loftus. Swallowing a pill with a small camera allows the doctor to see the entire gastrointestinal tract.

Do not ignore the symptoms

Crohn’s disease can affect children, teens, or young adults, Shah says. You may be tempted to try or downplay your symptoms yourself, but that’s not a good idea.

Some young people are embarrassed to tell someone about it, or she says they aren’t thinking of anything wrong. “They don’t know what these symptoms mean, and they feel it’s not really a big deal.”

About 17 years ago, Dana Hartline was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a disease that also causes pain and diarrhea. About a year later, she realized she really had Crohn’s disease.

Hartline, who lives in Marietta, Georgia, says that people have different bodies and illnesses. Her doctor at the time was not open to listening to her concerns and questions. “I didn’t have enough experience to know what to ask and it was very painful at the time,” she says.

If you feel that your diagnosis is wrong because you do not get any relief from your treatment, raise your voice.

Or find the right doctor for you, says Hartline. “A person who is willing to spend time with me and is willing to tell me about the background and education of the illness, what to expect, what is normal and what can raise a danger signal. When I was there, it was easy to diagnose and treat. “

Why is it difficult to diagnose?

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