Exams and Tests
Ulcerative colitis can be fairly easy to diagnose, because it normally affects only the Reference colon and rectum Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. And it usually causes an obvious change in daily bowel habits, such as frequent stools with blood or mucus.
Your doctor may:
- Conduct a medical history and physical exam.
- Look inside your colon and rectum with Reference flexible sigmoidoscopy or Reference colonoscopy. The doctor uses a small, lighted scope to look inside the intestine. In general, colonoscopy is preferred, because it can be used to see the entire colon. Both procedures can be used to take a sample (biopsy) of intestinal tissue. Biopsies are collected during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to see if you have ulcerative colitis. A biopsy also may be done to look for cancer.
Other exams and tests that may be used include:
- Reference Abdominal X-ray. It provides a picture of the inside of the abdomen.
- Reference Barium enema. It allows the doctor to examine the colon.
- Reference Computed tomography (CT) scan or Reference MRI. These provide detailed pictures of the inside of the body.
- Reference Stool analysis (including a test for blood in the stool). This test looks for blood, signs of bacterial infection, parasites, or white blood cells.
- Blood and urine tests to check for Reference anemia Opens New Window, inflammation, or malnutrition. An Reference erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate) or a Reference C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test may be done to look for infection or inflammation.
Some people have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but neither Crohn's disease nor ulcerative colitis can be diagnosed. These people have a form of IBD called indeterminate colitis. Doctors believe that it has features of both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 8, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology