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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will attempt to rule out other conditions, such as infection, that may be causing your symptoms. If you are diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, testing can also be used to monitor the disease and assess complications.

Tests may include:

  • Blood tests—to look for anemia and signs of inflammation
  • Stool sample—to look for the presence of blood or infection

The colon and rectum can be examined with:


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Imaging tests evaluate the intestines and surrounding structures. These may include:

A biopsy may be taken during these tests. A biopsy is a sample of the intestinal tissue that can be examined under a microscope.


Crohn's disease in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 17, 2015. Accessed October 1, 2015.

IBD. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: Accessed October 1, 2015.

Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 21, 2015. Accessed October 1, 2015.

What are Crohn's & colitis? Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at: Accessed October 1, 2015.

7/6/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Kim DH, Carucci LR, Baker ME, et al. American College of Radiology appropriateness criteria for Crohn disease. Available at: Updated 2014. Accessed October 1, 2015.

Last reviewed September 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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