Diagnosing ulcerative colitis

How do I know if I have ulcerative colitis?

While there is no one single test that can diagnose ulcerative colitis (UC), your doctor can use a combination of physical examinations, laboratory tests, and other tests (such as imaging tests and/or diagnostic procedures) to confirm a diagnosis of UC. These tests together will allow your doctor to confirm whether you have UC, and to choose a treatment that's right for you.

  • Your initial visit
  • The first thing your doctor will want to do is confirm that you are suffering from UC and not something else, such as an infection.

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, family history, diet, and lifestyle.

    You may be asked to give a stool sample, which will be tested for the presence of infection.

    The doctor may also take a blood sample in order to analyze your blood to look for conditions such as anemia.

  • Confirming the diagnosis with endoscopy
  • If your doctor suspects that you have UC, the next step is to look for visible damage to your colon. This is done by performing a procedure called an endoscopy, which is also known as a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

    During a colonoscopy, your doctor will insert a thin flexible camera through the anus to inspect the lining of your colon. The scope procedure will allow your doctor to see what area of the colon is affected and the severity of your disease. Your doctor may also decide to take a biopsy (a sample of tissue) for further testing.

    Although these tests sound uncomfortable, they are routine procedures. Most importantly, they may be used to explain the causes of your symptoms and become the first step in learning how to manage them.

  • Speaking with your doctor
  • It can be hard to talk about something like diarrhea or rectal bleeding with anybody, much less a doctor you just met. Whether you're dealing with a general practitioner or a gastroenterologist, you should understand it's their job to help you. They deal with these conditions every day and know exactly how serious they can be. It can be tough, but speaking up about your symptoms is your first step to addressing your condition.

    Download a guide with tips on discussing symptoms with your doctor

    Before your visit, you may want to have a list of questions ready to make sure you get all of the information you need.

    Whether it’s for you or your child, here are some sample questions you can ask the doctor:

    1. How can I be sure that I have UC?
    2. Should I change my diet because of UC?
    3. What should I eat during a flare-up?
    4. Do I need to be concerned about nutritional deficiencies because of UC?
    5. What tests will be used to monitor my UC?
    6. Can medications help me?
    7. What else can I do to improve my health?
  • Causes of UC
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  • Severity of UC
  • See More Important Risk Information


    Who should not take DELZICOL?

    • Do not take DELZICOL if you are allergic to:
      • salicylates, such as aspirin or medications that contain aspirin
      • aminosalicylates
      • any of the ingredients of DELZICOL

    What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking DELZICOL?

    Tell your healthcare provider if you:

    • Have or have had kidney problems
    • Are allergic to sulfasalazine
    • Have or have had heart-related allergic reactions, such as inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or inflammation of the lining of the heart (pericarditis)
    • Have or have had liver problems
    • Have or have had a stomach blockage
    • Have any other medical conditions

    What are the possible side effects of DELZICOL?

    DELZICOL may cause serious side effects, including:

    • Kidney problems: Your doctor may check to see how your kidneys are working before taking DELZICOL. It is important to complete all blood tests ordered by your doctor.
    • A condition that may be hard to tell apart from a UC flare: Symptoms include cramping, stomachache, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes fever, headache, and rash. If you experience any of these symptoms while on treatment, call your doctor right away. He or she may tell you to stop taking DELZICOL.
    • Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions: If signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity occur, immediately call your doctor.
    • Liver failure: In patients who have or have had liver disease.
    • Blood Disorders: Elderly patients and patients taking azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine need to monitor complete blood cell counts and platelet counts while taking DELZICOL.

    The most common side effects of DELZICOL include:

    • Adults: belching, stomachache, constipation, dizziness, runny nose, back pain, rash, upset stomach, and flu symptoms.
    • Children (5 to 17 years of age): inflammation of the nose and pharynx, headache, stomachache, dizziness, inflammation of the sinuses, rash, cough, diarrhea, tiredness, fever, and increased lipase.

    Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of DELZICOL.

    Before starting DELZICOL, tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including:

    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Taking these medications with DELZICOL may increase your risk of kidney problems.
    • Azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. Taking these medications with DELZICOL may increase your risk of blood disorders.

    What is DELZICOL?

    DELZICOL (mesalamine) delayed-release capsules is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis (UC) in patients 5 years of age and older and for the maintenance of remission of UC in adults.

    Please see full Prescribing Information for DELZICOL.

    The product information provided on this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed on this site may have different product labeling outside of the United States.

    The health information described on this site is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for discussions with a healthcare provider.