Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diagnosis

In order to diagnose15 IBD, your healthcare provider will likely begin by asking about your personal and family medical histories. They’ll also ask about the signs and symptoms you’ve been experiencing, including when they began, how severe they are, and how frequently they occur.

Some of the symptoms of IBD can overlap with those of food sensitivities and intolerances, such as celiac disease, and other gastrointestinal and immune conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Because of this, your provider may also ask about your typical diet and any dietary changes that may have recently occurred.

Your healthcare provider may begin by conducting a physical examination, during which they will check for mouth sores, eye inflammation, joint swelling or irritation, skin rashes, bleeding, and signs of inflammation in and around the anus.

Further testing will likely be required, however, to provide a certain diagnosis of inflammatory bowel syndrome. Some forms of testing commonly used to diagnose16 IBD include:

  • Blood tests: While blood tests alone cannot confirm whether a patient has IBD, they can help rule out the presence of other conditions that may cause symptoms similar to the disease.

These tests can also be used to check for anemia (low red blood cell count), malnutrition, or infection, all of which can be signs of IBD.

  • Stool tests: One form of stool test, called a fecal occult blood test, may be used to check a sample of your stool for hidden traces of blood.
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy: These procedures involve using an endoscope (a long, thin tube with a camera at its end) to examine the rectum and intestines for signs of IBD. A wide variety of endoscopic procedures may be used to diagnose IBD. Colonoscopy is usually used17 to diagnose ulcerative colitis, while endoscopy is often used to detect signs of Crohn’s disease.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scans, and X-rays, can help produce images that reveal damage caused by IBD.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.