Your doctor will do blood tests looking to see if you have had any complications related to your disease such as anemia, or liver inflammation.
C reactive protein (CRP) is a test that can assess the level of inflammation in your body. Not all patients with inflammation have an elevated CRP so it may not be useful in your case. that is why it is important to have this tested early to see if is elevated when you are acutely inflamed.
Fecal calprotectin is a protein that is released into the intestines in excess when there is any inflammation.
It can be used in 2 ways:
1. to determine if a person's symptoms are caused by inflammation or rather an irritable bowel.
2. To monitor the success of treatment. If the level decreases, it suggests that the level of inflammation is decreasing as well.
Despite all the other available tests to assess the level of inflammation, your doctor may still need to perform more direct tests to assess your intestines.
A colonoscopy is the test of choice for the colon but the small intestine can be more challenging to monitor.
Enterography is a radiological test to image the small intestine. It can be performed via a CT scan or an MRI. An MRI adds the safety of no radiation.
A video capsule endoscopy (VCE) can also be performed of the small intestine that can replace a CT or MR enterography.
A VCE is a small camera the size of a pill that one swallows and it takes photos as it passes. these photos are later reviewed.
Rarely, the video capsule can get stuck in an area of narrowing in the small intestine which is common in patients with Crohn's disease. To decrease this risk, patients with Crohn's disease will need to do swallow a patency capsule first. This is a capsule the same shape and size of the video capsule. If the patency capsule can pass the small intestine then it is safe to proceed with the VCE.