IBD Diagnosis & Tests

Giving New Orleans IBD patients plans for treatment

To make an accurate diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, your doctor will need a combination of your clinical history, a recent physical exam, and results from tests. The goal of testing is to make an accurate diagnosis, exclude other causes for your symptoms, and understand the extent and severity of your Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Types of tests

In order to accurately assess your IBD symptoms, there will need to be a number of tests performed for clarity and completeness.

Testing will include:

  • Blood tests – Tests for anemia, inflammation, infections, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies
  • Stool tests – Tests to exclude infections and to test for inflammation

Lab results from these tests will be used to determine further examinations.

Endoscopy

Once the lab has returned its results, the physician will be able to make intelligent decisions regarding the next steps in how to examine your body using a camera. This procedure is called endoscopy.

Some types of endoscopy could include:

  • Colonoscopy – A colonoscope is used to examine the entire colon and a small part of the small bowel (terminal ileum). It allows your doctor to assess the colon and small bowel for inflammation. It also allows your doctor to take samples of the bowel lining to document inflammation under the microscope.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy – A sigmoidoscope is a shorter, flexible scope that is used to examine the left side of your colon (rectum, sigmoid, and descending colon). It allows your doctor to assess your colon for inflammation and take samples for evaluation under the microscope.
  • Upper endoscopy (EGD) – An upper endoscope is used to examine your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (upper part of your small bowel). It allows your doctor to assess for inflammation and take samples for evaluation under the microscope.
  • Capsule endoscopy – A capsule containing a camera is swallowed and takes pictures of the entire small bowel to assess for inflammation. The capsule does not have the ability to take samples of tissue. Therefore, if inflammation is found a balloon endoscopy may be required to take samples of tissue for accurate diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
  • Balloon endoscopy – A longer endoscope that is used to reach the small bowel that is otherwise not reached with colonoscopy or upper endoscopy. This endoscope allows your doctor to assess for inflammation and take samples for evaluation under the microscope.

Imaging

Following the endoscopy, imaging specialists will then take a closer look at what’s happening inside your body.

Imaging scans performed could include:

  • CT – a noninvasive tool used to examine the small bowel and to identify any complications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • MRI – a noninvasive tool used to examine the small bowel and the rectum. It also helps to identify any complications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Unlike CT, there is no radiation exposure with MRI.
  • X-ray using barium – liquid containing barium is swallowed and x-rays are taken of the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel