Colitis Home > Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis

As part of diagnosing ulcerative colitis, your healthcare provider will ask a number of questions and will perform a physical exam. If your healthcare provider suspects ulcerative colitis or another condition within the digestive system, he or she may recommend additional tests. These tests may include blood tests, stool samples, and x-rays.

Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis: An Overview

In order to make an ulcerative colitis diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions, including questions about:


  • Current symptoms
  • Personal history of medical conditions
  • Family history of medical conditions
  • Current medications.


The doctor will also perform a physical exam looking for signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis. If he or she suspects ulcerative colitis or another condition within the digestive system, additional tests may be recommended.


Tests Used To Diagnose Ulcerative Colitis

To diagnose ulcerative colitis, one or more of the following tests may be recommended:


Blood Tests

Blood tests may be ordered to see if you are losing large amounts of blood in your stool and to check for infections or other problems.


Stool Sample

A stool sample can be used to look for signs of intestinal bleeding or infections.


Lower GI Series

A lower GI series, also known as a barium enema, uses x-rays to look for inflammation, sores, or other problems in the digestive tract. Before taking x-rays of your colon and rectum, the radiologist will put a thick liquid called barium into your colon. The barium coats the lining of the colon and rectum and makes these organs, and any signs of disease within them, show up more clearly on x-rays. It also helps the radiologist see the size and shape of the colon and rectum.

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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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