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How Is Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed?


How Is Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed?

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the colon and rectum. If you have symptoms of IBD, it is important for the doctor to confirm which type you have, so that you can get the right kind of treatment. The doctor will need to ask you some questions and perform a few tests before you can get a diagnosis and begin ulcerative colitis treatment.


Seeing a Gastroenterologist

A gastroenterologist is a specialist in digestive problems who can provide expert advice when you are experiencing symptoms of IBD. The doctor will usually ask about your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. The kinds of symptoms that might be associated with ulcerative colitis include:

1. Diarrhoea that keeps coming back, often with blood or mucus in it
2. More frequent bowel movements
3. Paleness or other signs of anaemia
4. Pain or tenderness in your abdomen


The doctor may also ask for a stool sample and run a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. The stool sample can be checked for infections such as gastroenteritis that could be causing the same kinds of symptoms as ulcerative colitis. The blood test will check to see if you are anaemic and whether you are suffering from inflammation, which could be signs of ulcerative colitis.

Other Tests for Ulcerative Colitis

Further tests are sometimes needed before you can begin ulcerative colitis treatment. The doctor may need to confirm that you have ulcerative colitis rather than another form of inflammatory bowel disease. It may also be necessary to check for signs of complications caused by the condition.

You might need to have the following tests:

1. Sigmoidoscopy to assess the extent of inflammation in your bowel
2. Colonoscopy to examine the entire colon for inflammation
3. X-ray or CT Scan to rule out complications and check the health of your rectum and colon


If the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will explain your options for ulcerative colitis treatment and provide advice on diet and lifestyle changes you can make in order to manage the condition. If the doctor finds that you don’t have ulcerative colitis, you may be diagnosed with another form of IBD or given more tests to look for another cause of your symptoms.