Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis
In order for your healthcare provider to diagnose ulcerative colitis, several tests and procedures may be performed. In most cases, a combination of blood tests and imaging studies is sufficient to confirm a diagnosis.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose ulcerative colitis include17:
- Blood tests: Your healthcare provider may want to check for anemia, a condition that occurs when the body’s red blood cell count is low. Blood tests can also check for any indication of an infection that may contribute to ulcerative colitis.
- Colonoscopy: In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached is inserted into the colon and used to visualize the inside of the intestinal system. This procedure also allows for a small tissue sample (biopsy) to be taken for laboratory testing.
- Stool sample: Stool samples can be tested for the presence of white blood cells, which can be a sign of ulcerative colitis.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This procedure, which is similar to a colonoscopy, involves using a thin, flexible tube to examine the rectum and sigmoid portion of the colon. Healthcare providers may opt for this procedure over a full colonoscopy if it is known that your colon is already severely inflamed.
- X-ray: An X-ray may be used over other imaging studies to rule out complications like a perforated colon.
- CT scan: A CT scan can be used to visualize the extent of colon inflammation and determine whether you have developed any other gastrointestinal complications as the result of ulcerative colitis.
- CT enterography and MR enterography: These noninvasive imaging studies may be used to rule out inflammation in the small intestine. CT enterography involves using small amounts of radiation, while MR enterography does not.
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If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.References