How is Crohn's disease diagnosed?

Most people with Crohn’s first see a healthcare provider because of ongoing diarrhea, belly cramping or unexplained weight loss. If you have a child who has been experiencing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, reach out to your pediatrician.

To find the cause of your symptoms, your healthcare provider may order one or more of these tests:

  • Blood test: A blood test checks for high numbers of white blood cells that may indicate inflammation or infection. The test also checks for low red blood cell count, or anemia. Approximately one in three people with Crohn’s disease have anemia.
  • Stool test: This test looks at a sample of your stool to check for bacteria or parasites. It can rule out infections that cause chronic diarrhea.
  • Colonoscopy: During a colonoscopy, your doctor uses an endoscope (thin tube with an attached light and camera) to examine the inside of your colon. Your doctor may take a tissue sample (biopsy) from the colon to test for signs of inflammation.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: A CT scan creates images of the digestive tract. It tells your healthcare provider how severe the intestinal inflammation is.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy: Your doctor threads a long, thin tube called an endoscope through your mouth and into your throat. An attached camera allows your doctor to see inside. During an upper endoscopy, your doctor may also take tissue samples.
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) exam: X-ray images used during an upper GI exam allow your doctor to watch as a swallowed barium liquid moves through your digestive tract.

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