Tests and procedures

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be challenging to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to other gastrointestinal conditions. Here is an overview of how your doctor may tackle investigations:

  • Complete an accurate medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory tests such as X-rays to exclude other sources of your symptoms
  • Barium meal X-ray to help see inside your bowel clearly
  • Blood tests to look for anaemia and inflammatory markers
  • Stool sample to rule out infection or confirm inflammatory cause
  • Intestinal imaging using computed tomography (CT) scanning or colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, gastroscopy to look for visible signs of inflammation, ulcers or bleeding
  • Biopsy of sections of your digestive tract to confirm the presence of inflammation and to check for infection

There are many tests and tools you may come across when you are being investigated for IBD. For a general overview of the types of imaging tests you may be subjected to, you can visit The Gut Foundation’s gastrointestinal diagnosis page.

You can read more about specific tests and procedures below or see the ROAD TO DIAGNOSIS section.



What can blood tests tell? What can a stool sample tell? For a general overview of pathology and other non-laboratory tests you may be recommended visit Lab Tests Online Au.


Scoping procedures

Information from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s website on colonoscopy.

Find out about sigmoidoscopy from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s website.

The Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s website has information on what to expect with gastroscopy.

Read more about small bowel capsule endoscopy at the Australian Centre for Digestive Diseases.