It is so important for your doctor to be able to confirm the diagnosis of IBD, as these disorders are long-lasting. Also, the identification of your particular disease as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis will permit your physician to prescribe the most effective treatment for you. An accurate diagnosis of IBD also involves determining the disease type (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), the extent of disease, and the complications associated with your illness. Endoscopy with biopsies is the gold standard for diagnosing and evaluating disease activity in IBD.
Radiological tests are used along with with endoscopy to help evaluate the small bowel and to look for infections (abscesses), narrowings (strictures), obstructions, and fistulas. Newer technologies, such as capsule endoscopy, antibody tests, and MRI, seek to make the diagnosis of IBD less invasive, but are not yet considered first line tests that replace the traditional endoscopic tests.
Even after a diagnosis of IBD has been confirmed, your doctor may periodically request that you undergo some of these tests. They may be necessary to provide information about any complications and to help determine how well your treatment plan is working. Understanding how such tests are appropriate in order to individualize and optimize your overall care allows you to be an active participant in decisions about your health.