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Misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease

Misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease

A diagnosis of Crohn's disease may missed because its symptoms may be mistaken for symptoms of such conditions as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and diverticulosis. In addition, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between a diagnosis of colitis and Crohn's disease.

Some people have such mild symptoms of Crohn's disease that they mistake them for the symptoms of a less serious condition, such as gastrointestinal upset, gas, or gastroenteritis. This can result in a delay in seeking medical care and a diagnosis.

To ensure a prompt diagnosis of Crohn's disease or other potentially serious gastrointestinal diseases, it is vital to seek immediate medical for symptoms of bloody diarrhea, rectal bleeding, recurring bouts of diarrhea, abdominal pain, or fever....more about Crohn's disease »

Crohn's disease misdiagnosis: Crohn's disease may be misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome....more about Crohn's disease »

Alternative diagnoses list for Crohn's disease:

For a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Crohn's disease:

Diseases for which Crohn's disease may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Crohn's disease is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Crohn's disease: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Crohn's disease may include these medical conditions:

  • The exact cause of Crohn disease remains unknown. Current theories implicate the role of genetic, microbial, immunologic, environmental, dietary, vascular, and even psychosocial factors as potential causative agents
  • Imbalance between proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators
  • Research shows that the inflammation seen in the GI tract of people with Crohn's disease involves several factors: the genes the patient has inherited, the immune system itself, and the environment. Foreign substances, also referred to as antigens, are found in the environment. One possible cause for inflammation may be the body's reaction to these antigens, or that the antigens themselves are the cause for the inflammation. Some scientists think that a protein produced by the immune system, called anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF), may be a possible cause for the inflammation associated with Crohn's disease
  • more causes...»

Rare Types of Crohn's disease:

  • Crohn's disease of oral cavity
  • Crohn's disease of the hypopharynx
  • SLE associated with Crohn's disease
  • More rare types »

Crohn's disease: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Crohn's disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Crohn's disease

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed. The best known, irritable bowel syndrome, is over-diagnosed, whereas other causes that are less known may be overlooked or misdiagnosed: celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis (both are called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)), diabetic gastroparesis, diabetic diarrhea. Other possibilities include giardia, colon cancer, or other chronic infections.

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system contains a variety of "good" bacteria that aid digestion, and they can decline for various reasons, leading to digestive symptoms such as diarrhea. The main treatment is to eat foods containing probiotics, typically yoghurt cultures. See intestinal imbalance and probiotics.

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut. This leads to "digestive imbalance" where there are too few remaining "good" bacteria in the digestive system. The treatment is typically to use "probiotics", such as by eating yoghurt cultures containing more of the good bacteria. See digestive imbalance and probiotics.

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to be an infectious diarrheal illness (i.e. infectious diarrhea), that has been caught from another person. Such conditions may be transmitted via the fecal-oral route.

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed with fatal effect). One of the most common misdiagnosed is for children with mesenteric adenitis to be misdiagnosed as appendicitis. Fortunately, thus misdiagnosis is usually less serious than the reverse failure to diagnose appendicitis.

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder with a variety of symptoms (see symptoms of celiac disease). A variety of other chronic digestive disorders tend to be diagnosed rather than this condition. See introduction to celiac disease or misdiagnosis of celiac disease.

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency or misdiagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD. Other sometimes overlooked possibilities include Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, chronic appendicitis, Celiac disease, Carcinoid syndrome, gastroparesis, and others. See all types of chronic digestive diseases.

Crohn's disease: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Crohn's disease

Failure to diagnose Crohn's disease may be associated with the following:

  • The failure to diagnose Crohn's disease can lead to joint complications (arthritis, joint pain, ankylosing spondylitis, back pain), skin problems (erythema nodosum, pyoderma gangrenosum), liver problems (gallstones, cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, fatty liver, sclerosing cholangitis), kidney stones, venous thrombosis and eye problems (uveitis, episcleritis, conjunctivitis)
  • Active undiagnosed Crohn's disease can reduce fertility and increase the risk of spontaneous abortion
  • Failure to diagnose Crohn's disease can result in complications such as toxic megacolon, colonic perforation, hemorrhage, abscess and fistulae, anal fissures, anal abscesses, anal fistula or colonic carcinoma
  • The longer it takes to diagnose the Crohn's disease, the more damage that can occur to the bowels
  • Failure to diagnose Crohn's disease in children can lead to retarded growth or delayed or failed puberty
  • Peiranal disease may be unrecognized as a symptom of Crohn's disease but may be considered as an isolated condition
  • Often a co-existing intestinal infection (bacterial, viral, fungal etc) is not diagnosed in Crohn's disease sufferers and as a result their symptoms are exacerbated
  • Crohn's disease is often not diagnosed in children as the disorder is often considered unlikely to occur and difficult to diagnose in children
  • Undiagnosed children often suffer the complications and effects of malnutrition - poor growth, depression, sexual immaturity etc.
  • Untreated and treated Crohn's patients face a greater risk of osteoporosis
  • Colonoscopies and other imaging tests may still fail to diagnose Crohn's disease. Recent studies using capsule endoscopy may provide a greater degree of diagnostic accuracy

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Crohn's disease

The following may be hidden causes of Crohn's disease:

  • Crohn's disease may be inherited in a familial pattern i.e. tends to run in families
  • Genetic mutation may also have a role in the susceptibility to Crohn's disease
  • Environmental factors such as good domestic hygiene habits can increase to risk of developing Crohn's disease. A clean environment means the bowel lining has not had the opportunity to build up immunity to minor infections. Therefore, the first bout of Crohn's disease is often triggered by an intestinal infection of some sort. After the condition has been triggered, flare-ups tend to continue
  • There is unproven suggestion that a diet high in fat or sugars can increase the risk of developing Crohn's disease
  • Smoking appears to be a risk factor for Crohn's disease and can exacerbate symptoms
  • Appendicectomy increases the risk and exacerbates the symptoms of Crohn's disease
  • Immunological defects have been implicated in Crohn's disease

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Crohn's disease

Wrong diagnosis of Crohn's disease may be associated with the following:

  • Crohn's disease is frequently misdiagnosed as ulcerative colitis and vice versa as they can be difficult to distinguish due to the similarity of symptoms
  • Crohn's disease is often undiagnosed as patients may have few physical signs other than weight loss and general ill-health

Complications Of Misdiagnosis Of Crohn's disease

The following may be complications of misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease:

  • The abdominal pain associated with acute Crohn's disease may be misdiagnosed as acute appendicitis
  • The acute abdominal pain associated with Yersinia infection can be misdiagnosed as Crohn's disease and vice versa
  • NSAID medication can cause a flare up of Crohn's disease
  • Anemia due to Crohn's disease may be diagnosed simply as anemia
  • Sudden onset of gastrointestinal symptoms due to inflammatory bowel disease such as diarrhea may be misdiagnosed as an intestinal infection (bacterial, viral, parasitic or fungal)

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Crohn's disease

  • Stress and lack of sleep can exacerbate Crohn's disease symptoms
  • Diverticular disease and Crohn's disease often co-exist
  • Patients with Crohn's disease face a greater risk of neuromuscular conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and weakness, pain and numbness in the limbs

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease:

Misdiagnosis and Crohn's disease deaths

Crohn's disease is a condition that can possibly be deadly if misdiagnosed...more »

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease or confirming a diagnosis of Crohn's disease, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Crohn's disease may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.


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