Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis

Diagnosis of Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative colitis is a disease of the large intestine with the potential for life-threatening consequences. Therefore, diagnosis is the first step in treatment and it is best to be proactive. In this article, we take a brief look at how you can be diagnosed using the most widely acceptable and effective medical techniques available today.

Diagnosis Via Colonoscopy

Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis via colonoscopy uses a lighted tube with a tiny camera mounted on the end.  It is inserted into the colon via the anus in order to take pictures of the inside of the bowels.

This tube is flexible so the patient can be more comfortable and the doctor can take advantage of viewing the entire inside of the affected area. The small camera on the end of the scope records images of the lining of the large intestine, also known as the colon.

During this process of inspection, the physician is also looking for general abnormalities. Biopsies are taken to evaluate the microscopic appearance of the lining.  The colonoscope can be used during this time to remove small polyps, which could be inflamed and potentially cancerous. Accordingly, the colonoscopy is one of the most effective diagnostic procedures.

Diagnosis by Virtual Colonoscopy

Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis using a virtual colonoscopy has certain advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional colonoscopy. Virtual means that the physician will view the colon virtually using CT or MRI scanning, rather than with a camera like in a traditional colonoscopy. In a virtual colonoscopy, you as the patient, will lie face up on a table and a short thin tube will be passed through the anus and into the rectum. The large intestine is then expanded with carbon dioxide to increase the quality of the digital rendering. Radiologists then take and interpret the pictures of the colon for the diagnosis.


This is a very comfortable technique for diagnosis of ulcerative colitis since all you have to do is lie on a table without the need of any sedative. You will experience some minor, short lasting abdominal cramps.  In addition, virtual colonoscopy takes less time as compared to conventional colonoscopy. Moreover, this technique does not require a tube to be inserted into the depths of the colon. The results of virtual colonoscopy achieved with the help of MRI and CT scans are much better than those that are acquired through other X-rays, such as a barium, enema..


The drawbacks of this technique are that virtual colonoscopy does not let doctors remove tissue from the colon for purposes of examination.  Only HD 3D and 2D pictures are available for analysis. Also, virtual colonoscopy is unable to detect pre-cancerous polyps that are smaller than 10mm. Furthermore, virtual colonoscopy is a relatively new technology and therefore is available only in select locations.

Research on Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis

A lot of research has been conducted on diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. It is said that ulcerative colitis is responsible for more than a million cases in the United States. Statistics released by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reveal that a large number of patients  ultimately have to have their colons removed because of excessive bleeding, because of rupture of the colon, or even because of risk of contracting cancer.