Categories > What Up Doc >
Taking the Panic Out of Procedures
- What You Need To Know First
- The Tests:
- Blood Tests
- Upper Endoscopy
- Upper GI Series
- Video Capsule Endoscopy
- Other Test
- Endoscopy Prep
- About Anesthesia
What You Need To Know First
Lets face it: when you've got UC or Crohn's, tests just go with the territory. And though it may sometimes seem like it, they were NOT created just to make your life miserable or give you more pain and anxiety than you've already got.
Tests, and the images and lab results they produce, do two major things:
1) They let your doctor confirm whether you've got IBD.
2) They show him or her the location and intensity of your inflammation.
Look at tests as the most important first step to discovering what's wrong and working to fix it. Because the unknown is always scarier than the known, let's see what there is to know about procedures for UC and Crohn's.
- Blood tests involve a lab technician or nurse inserting a very small needle into a vein in your arm, then collecting your blood in tubes. You have probably already had these done by the time you read this!
- Your blood can actually "speak" by telling your doctor if there are any signs of inflammation or infection in your body.
- A blood test will show whether you have anemia (that's when your red blood cell count is low), which is a common side effect of UC and Crohn's.
- You'll probably have blood tests regularly during your treatment to make sure that (a) you're getting enough nutrition, (b) your medication is doing its job, and (c) your medications are safe for you.
- Chances are you've had or will have a colonoscopy -- it's the most commonly performed test on IBD patients.
- A colonoscopy uses a long, thin and flexible tube called an endoscope, which is a special kind of miniature video camera.
- The endoscope is inserted through your rear end and into the large intestine (aka the colon). Often your doc will also get a look at the end of your small intestine (the ileum). It transmits images to a TV monitor so the doctor can get an up-close- look at different areas that may be affected.
- Along the way, the doctor may remove a tiny piece of tissue from your intestinal wall, otherwise known as a biopsy, and send it off to a lab to be examined more closely. It is no bigger than the head of a pin and you will not feel any pain when the biopsy is taken. Biopsies are helpful because they can be looked at under a microscope and sometimes give us information that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- Depending on your doctor, you will either be totally asleep or half asleep during all of this. Chances are you won't feel any pain or discomfort (most people don't!). Most people don't remember a thing!
- The colonoscopy is so commonly used because it lets your doctor see as much of your intestinal tract as possible at one time, and helps your doc determine whether you've got ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.