How Do You Get Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis?

Reviewed on 7/28/2021

Ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is usually diagnosed with a physical exam, patient history, stool tests, blood tests, endoscopic procedures, and imaging tests (X-ray, CT scans, MRIs).
Ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is usually diagnosed with a physical exam, patient history, stool tests, blood tests, endoscopic procedures, and imaging tests (X-ray, CT scans, MRIs).

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which the large intestine (colon) is chronically inflamed with sores. Ulcerative colitis usually involves the lower part of the colon and the rectum, but it can affect the entire colon. 

Crohn’s disease is another type of IBD that is different from ulcerative colitis because it can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. 

Ulcerative colitis is diagnosed with:

  • A physical exam, which may include:
    • Examining the abdomen, pressing to check for pain or tenderness
    • Checking for eye inflammation, mouth sores, skin rashes, joint swelling or irritation, bleeding, or signs of inflammation in the anus and the surrounding area
  • Patient history
    • Symptoms, when they first occurred, how frequent and severe, and if they interfere with daily activities
    • Symptoms related to an immune system abnormality, such as fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, eye irritation or blurred vision, and arthritis.
    • Questions about travel and if symptoms occurred during a trip to another country
    • Diet, and if there have been any dietary changes recently 
    • Any other medical conditions or medications used
    • Past abdominal or gastrointestinal surgery
  • Tests and procedures 
    • Stool testing
      • To rule out infection and parasites
      • Calprotectin
  • Blood tests 
  • Endoscopic procedures
  • Imaging tests 

What Are Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis are mild in about half of all patients, and may include:

Inflammation and symptoms may worsen (flares), followed by periods when symptoms subside (remission), that can last months to years. 


 

What is the Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis?

Treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on the severity of the condition and how often a patient’s symptoms worsen (flare). The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms, and induce and maintain remission (which is a period without symptoms).

Ulcerative colitis is usually treated with medication to induce or maintain remissions and improve quality of life. Surgery is a last-resort for patients who have severe inflammation and life-threatening complications. 

Medications used to treat ulcerative colitis include:

Surgery for ulcerative colitis is a last-resort used for severe cases. Surgery usually involves removing the entire colon and the rectum, which is the only permanent cure for ulcerative colitis. 

QUESTION

Ulcerative colitis affects the colon. The colon is also referred to as the... See Answer

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Reviewed on 7/28/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/ulcerative-colitis-beyond-the-basics?topicRef=15613&source=see_link

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8613037/

https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ulcerative-colitis/treatment/

https://nyulangone.org/conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease-in-adults/diagnosis