Ulcerative Colitis - Diagnosis


The initial diagnostic workup for ulcerative colitis includes the following:

  • A complete blood count is done to check for anemia; thrombocytosis, a high platelet count, is occasionally seen
  • Electrolyte studies and renal function tests are done, as chronic diarrhea may be associated with hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia and pre-renal failure.
  • Liver function tests are performed to screen for bile duct involvement: primary sclerosing cholangitis.
  • X-ray
  • Urinalysis
  • Stool culture, to rule out parasites and infectious causes.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate can be measured, with an elevated sedimentation rate indicating that an inflammatory process is present.
  • C-reactive protein can be measured, with an elevated level being another indication of inflammation.

Although ulcerative colitis is a disease of unknown causation, inquiry should be made as to unusual factors believed to trigger the disease. Factors may include: recent cessation of tobacco smoking; recent administration of large doses of iron or vitamin B6; hydrogen peroxide in enemas or other procedures.

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