Bowel Disease Diagnosed diagnosis

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Diagnosis is essential to identify not only which areas of intestine are inflamed but also the severity of the lesions; this information is then used to initiate the most appropriate treatment for each patient.

Blood collection tube

Blood analysis. To detect parameters that establish the presence of inflammation, anaemia and/or infections.

Faecal analysis

Stool analysis. To diagnose concurrent infections (bacteria, parasites). There are also specific indicators that can confirm the presence of intestinal inflammation (calprotectin).


Digestive endoscopy (gastroscopy, colonoscopy). These tests are required to confirm the diagnosis, as they provide a direct view of the intestinal mucosa (innermost layer of the intestine), and to obtain biopsy samples. They are not only essential for the diagnosis of IBD, but also when monitoring the response to treatments.
Colonoscopy provides a view of the colon (large intestine) and also, if necessary, the final section of the small intestine (terminal ileum).
Gastroscopy is used to view the oesophagus, stomach and the most proximal section of the small intestine (duodenum).

Capsule endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy. This exploratory technique involves swallowing a small camera which then takes images along the entire length of the digestive tract until it is excreted through the anus. It is very useful when performing a complete study of the small intestine (segments that cannot be accessed by gastroscopy or colonoscopy).

Ultrasound on a monitor

UltrasoundUltrasound is a radiological technique that may be necessary in some cases to determine the location of the inflammatory process and rule out other diseases with similar symptoms (e.g., appendicitis).

Person having a chest X-ray done

Other radiological tests. Abdominal X-rays, computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are particularly useful when it comes to diagnosing complications (stenosis, fistulas) and identifying which areas of the intestine are affected by the disease.

Imaging tests help assess any complications, complete the study of the disease’s extension and evaluate the response to treatments.

Substantiated information by:

Ingrid Ordas Jimenez
Marta Gallego Barrero

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 4 September 2020

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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