The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, including:
How long you have had the symptoms
How severe your pain is
How often it occurs
How long it lasts
How often you have diarrhea
Whether you have been traveling
The health care provider can diagnose colitis by inserting a flexible tube into the rectum (flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) and evaluating specific areas of the colon. Biopsies taken during these tests 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
Swollen (distended) abdomen
Prevention depends upon the cause of colitis. See the specific condition.
George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.