Is it possible for a CT scan to accurately show Crohn’s disease well enough for a diagnosis?
Crohn’s is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and can cause blood in the stools.
“Crohn’s disease is usually diagnosed using colonoscopy (using a camera to look for abnormalities in the colon or take pieces of abnormal areas to examine further),” says Resham Mendi, MD, a renowned expert in the field of medical imaging, and the medical director of Bright Light Medical Imaging.
Dr. Mendi continues, “CT, however, can be used to help in the diagnosis. CT enterography is a technique in which the patient drinks a special type of contrast material, and very detailed images of the abdomen and pelvis are taken to look closely at the small intestines.
“This type of CT can be very useful in evaluating Crohn’s disease. CT is particularly useful in looking for complications of Crohn’s disease, such as inflammation, infection, abscess and fistula.”
More About Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s can also cause severe diarrhea, malnutrition and weight loss. For some patients it’s debilitating and as a result, they are not able to work. There is no cure, but treatments can enable patients to function well.
- Mouth sores
- Reduced appetite
- A fistula can cause pain or drainage about the anus.
- Joint pain
- Inflammation of the skin and eyes
The cause of Crohn’s disease is not known. Though diet and mental stress can aggravate the symptoms, these two agents do not cause the illness.
It’s believed that a dysfunction in the immune system and/or a genetic process are the causes, but this has not been proven. Nevertheless there are known risk factors:
- Smoking. This is the most relevant controllable risk factor. If you have Crohn’s and you smoke, you absolutely need to quit; smoking makes the condition worse.
- Age under 30, though patients can be any age.
- Family history.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
If your doctor suspects that you have Crohn’s, they will provide you with the right course of diagnostics, be it only a colonoscopy or both that and a CT scan.
Dr. Mendi has published several articles in radiology journals and has expertise in MRI, women’s imaging, musculoskeletal, neurological and body imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.