Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis

If you have unexplained digestive symptoms that do not go away and are puzzling your primary care doctor consider an appointment with one of the expert gastroenterologists at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Many conditions can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. A dedicated center for inflammatory bowel disease has the necessary resources, experience and expertise to give you the proper diagnosis. 

Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis

The most important part of the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis involves a colonoscopy with biopsies. These colonic biopsies are then analyzed and interpreted by a dedicated team of fellowship-trained pathologists. Our pathologists have extensive experience in gastrointestinal diseases. This level of specialization and experience means we can confidently provide you with an accurate diagnosis.

We will begin the diagnostic process by asking you about your symptoms and obtaining a detailed and comprehensive medical history and physical examination. Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Colonoscopy with biopsies of the lining of the bowel
  • Blood tests
  • Stool studies
  • Radiologic studies


A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopic procedure. Your doctor uses a thin, flexible tube fitted with a tiny camera called a colonoscope to view your colon. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. You will need to closely follow pre-procedure instructions to cleanse your colon before the procedure.
  2. During the procedure, your doctor will give you sedative medications to make you comfortable as he/she performs the procedure
  3. The colonoscopy allows for the direct visual examination of the rectum and colon for signs of inflammation. 
  4. Your doctor may also take small samples of tissue.


Often during the colonoscopy a biopsy may be performed. A biopsy is the painless removal of a small sample of tissue from your colon. Then, this tissue sample is sent to our expert pathologists for analysis and interpretation in an attempt to provide a definitive diagnosis. 

Ulcerative Colitis: Treatment

Your individual treatment plan will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Usually, a specific medication regimen will be recommended. If you do not find relief, a surgical consultation may be needed. Learn more about ulcerative colitis treatment

Contact Us

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call us at 802-847-8865.