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Appendix and Crohn's

  Since the birth of my son 8 months ago, I have suffered from diahrrea.  In July, I had my appendix removed and the diahrrea has become worse.  I am fine for a week or two, and then I get terrible cramps and feel the urge to have a bowel movement.  I may have four or five movements in the morning.  The first and second will be a normal movement, with the rest getting progressively looser.  I worry because my sister has Crohn's disease and I have heard that Crohn's symptoms can mimic an appendix attack.  Would the surgeon have told me if the appendix had turned out to be 'normal'?  I believe the appendicitis was diagnosed by an MRI.  Would the MRI or surgery have show the Crohn's Disease?
  I have been to family doctor who prescribed an antibiotic as well as Flagyl (which I havent taken yet).  He recommended further tests if it does not clear up soon.
  Any advice would be welcome!
Dear Kate,
Chronic diarrhea can certainly be due to Crohn's disease. In some cases, inflammatory bowel disease presents after childbirth. Crohn's disease tends to run in families and can mimic appendicitis. If you have some doubt as to the pathology of the appendix at surgery, you should contact your surgeon or get a copy of the surgical pathology report from the hospital where you had the operation. An MRI can show inflammatory changes in the area of the terminal ileum or colon. If your surgeon performed a careful inspection of these areas during the surgery (probably not standard procedure during a routine appendectomy) he or she might have been able to note abnormal appearing intestine. Nonetheless, nothing replaces a tissue biopsy sample to confirm the diagnosis of Crohn's disease. Biopsies of the colon and possibly the terminal ileum can be obtained during colonoscopy. Incidentally, you should be aware that many patients with Crohn's disease will have a response to metronidazole (Flagyl). I hope you find this information helpful.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you would like to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
*Keywords: chronic diarrhea, Crohn's disease, diagnosis

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