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The Digestive Health Center at Stanford Health Care delivers expert diagnosis for all forms of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis. Part of what makes Stanford different is our expertise in measuring the degree of intestinal injury for each patient. This helps us understand the severity of your condition and how best to treat it.
Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis
We begin the diagnosis with a thorough physical exam, which includes gathering a detailed medical history. You may then need one or more diagnostic tests. Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are the "gold standard" for diagnosing ulcerative colitis. We may need to conduct additional testing to rule out other conditions, such as Crohn's disease.
Diagnostic testing for ulcerative colitis available at Stanford Health Care include:
Blood test: Using a sample of your blood, we may run a number of blood tests, including:
Complete blood count to look for signs of anemia and infections
Electrolyte and kidney function panel to look for electrolyte abnormalities and liver issues
Albumin tests to assess your nutritional status
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy: Examining the entire length of your colon (colonoscopy) or just the lower part of your colon (sigmoidoscopy) with the help of a small flexible tube and tiny camera we insert into your rectum (endoscope).
Magnetic resonance imaging: A magnetic resonance imaging test produces detailed images of your small and large intestine without radiation and shows tissue inflammation in exquisite detail.
Stool culture: Also known as a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), this test examines a sample of your stool under a microscope to look for microscopic amounts of blood.
Upper endoscopy: With the help of an endoscope that we pass through your mouth and esophagus, we carefully examine the lining of your intestines. During an upper endoscopy, we may also take a tissue sample (biopsy) and examine it under a microscope.
Ulcerative Colitis Treatment
Once we confirm a diagnosis, we will create a personalized treatment plan for you. Treatment options include medication, medical nutrition therapy and surgery. Learn more about ulcerative colitis treatment at Stanford.