Testing & Diagnosis for Ulcerative Colitis in Children

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Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

  • 617-355-6058
  • International: +1-617-355-5209

What are the available tests for colitis in children?

Many times, parents bring their children to their pediatrician because the child has diarrhea and blood in the stool. The pediatrician may do some blood work and refer your child to our team at Children’s Hospital Boston. Once we have an accurate diagnosis of your child’s condition, we can start her on the road to proper care and management of her IBD – and most importantly, have her feeling better as soon as possible.

Ulcerative colitis is most commonly diagnosed based on the results of:

  • blood tests – to identify anemia or inflammation

  • stool sample – to check for bleeding or infection

  • endoscopy – this procedure involves inserting a long, flexible, lighted tube called a endoscope through the child’s mouth, and down the intestinal tract to her small intestine. This allows the doctor to check for inflammation, bleeding, ulcers and other growths; and possibly treat some problems that are discovered.

  • colonoscopy – this procedure involves inserting a long, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope in through the rectum up into the colon. The colonoscope allows the doctor to check the lining of the colon for inflammation, bleeding, ulcers and other growths; and possibly treat some problems that are discovered.

  • biopsy – During the colonoscopy, your child’s doctor will most likely remove a tiny sample of tissue. Our pathologists will examine this under a microscope to get more information about your child’s condition.

  • imaging studies – performed by a specialist using different methods, these allow doctors to have a look at areas that the endoscope can’t see

After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we’ll meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.



We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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