The health care provider will perform a physical exam. You will also be asked questions about your symptoms such as:
How long have you had the symptoms?
How severe is your pain?
How often do you have pain and how long does it last?
How often so you have diarrhea?
Have you have been traveling?
The health care provider can diagnose colitis by inserting a flexible tube into the rectum (flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) and looking at certain areas of the colon. You may have biopsies taken during this exam. Biopsies may show changes related to inflammation.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms such as:
Abdominal pain that does not get better
Blood in the stool or stools that look black
Diarrhea or vomiting that does not go away
Horn AE, Ufbert JW. Appendicitis, diverticulitis, and colitis. Emerg Med Clin N Am. 2011;29:347-368.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.