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Ulcerative Colitis - Exams and Tests

Ulcerative colitis can be fairly easy to diagnose, because it normally affects only the colon and rectum camera.gif. 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 flexible sigmoidoscopy or 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:

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 08, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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