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What exactly makes it Crohn's?

Hi! Just wondering what exactly makes it Crohn's vs IBS? I have been sick since March, EGD then showed inflammation, white blood cells and rare villi so they initially thought it was Celiac disease. All Celiac tests were negative. I continued having sever diarrhea, wt loss, ab pain and fevers until October. I had another EGD and the dr gave me a prescription for 2 weeks of Diflucan when I left. He thought it was a yeast infection. Miraculously on the 12th day of Diflucan...the diarrhea stopped!! I felt better than I have in months! Fast forard to 12/20- it all started over again. Diarrhea multiple times a day, dizzy, light headed. In the meantime they did send me to a hematologist- severe anemia. And just today I got a letter from the GI stating he just got the pathology report from my EGD (that was 2 months ago!) and the biopsy showed inflammation in the stomach and small intestine. I called to see what I should do about it, especially as I seem to be in teh moddle of some sort of flare up but I haven't heard back. That was all the letter said, lol.

If anyone can shed some light- I really don't want to go through this all over again! I am so glad I have found this forum- so many people with symptoms similar to mine!
IBS is supposedly a functional syndrome. If you have inflammation they can detect visibly or pathologically, then it seems that would rule out a dx of IBS. But there are people on here who have been exceptions to this. However, IBS in and of itself, is not supposed to cause structural changes to your GI tract.

Hope your doctor will be able to help you one way or another.
IBS is not a disease, it is a syndrome. Crohn's is a disease that can be serious and often leads to surgery, and can involve complications and have extraintestinal manifestations (such as skin lesions, eye problems, etc.).

I believe at worst, people with IBS who do not treat their condition can expect diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies. Left untreated, Crohn's can lead to fistulas, abscesses, surgery, bleeding, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, and much, much more (I sound like a game show host).
Welcome Mel

Hey Mel! Hmmmm IBS does not seem appropriate in your case. Did your Dr. discuss a colonoscopy? What about your sed rate or CRP? They need to figure our why you are anemic. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease--I didn't see the blood in my stool, but it was there. I also had an EGD that showed inflammation, then all hell broke loose when I had the colonoscopy. I was sick for a few weeks--but my disease moved really quickly and I didn't have to wait long for a diagnosis. Crohn's affects all layers of the intestine. There is a myriad of other ailments you can have with Crohns like skin, eye, and joint problems. Not to scare your, obviously, but you need some answers sooner rather than later. You reach the point that you are sick of being sick. So sorry you are having problems---keep on your medical providers and stress how sick you really are. Keep us updated. :panda:


Staff member
Hi Mel,

My son's GI told us simply that while IBS may cause similar symptoms as IBD, it does NOT actually cause inflammation whereas IBD does.
IBS is often concluded to be the problem when all other tests are negative for other things. IBS can be diarrhea predominant or it can be IBS-C (with constipation), or it can alternate between the two. I have IBS-C. IBS is much easier to control and is not an autoimmune disease like Crohn's and UC are. The worst things that can happen with IBS are pain (which can be bad), cramps, and rectal problems. It is a functional condition as was stated above.

Crohn's is usually diagnosed via colonoscopy, and often ulcers are found in the colon during the exam. Doctors can tell through biopsy if the ulcers are due to Crohn's Disease. The ileum is very often involved with Crohn's, and that is where strictures/obstructions can occur.

CCFA hosts great conferences throughout the U.S. (ccfa.org) They are great venues to learn more about IBD and to realize that there are many others also suffering from the same issues. My son has CD and was diagnosed 6 years ago. He currently takes the Humira shot every week in addition to Azathiaprine daily.