You probably had several tests before you were told you have IBD.  Sometimes you will need to have follow-up blood tests and imaging tests, such as colonoscopy, Barium x-ray, video capsule endoscopy, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  All of these tests help the doctor monitor your progress and/or adjust your treatment.

Viewing the Gastrointestinal Tract from the Inside

  • Endoscopy: refers to procedures where a very small flexible camera (scope) is used to look inside of you by going through the mouth or the anus.
  • Colonoscopy: refers to a procedure where a doctor inserts the scope through the anus to look at the walls of your intestine.  It is very safe and generally does not cause significant pain or discomfort.
  • Capsule Endoscopy: involves swallowing a small pill (capsule) that has a camera inside.  As it travels through your body, the pill takes pictures.  The pictures are then sent to a receiver worn by the patient.  The pill comes out when you go to the bathroom, usually within a day.

Viewing the Gastrointestinal Tract from the Outside

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A machine moves along your body and uses magnetic waves to take pictures.  The pictures are then put together to create a two-dimensional or three-dimensional image of your gastrointestinal tract.
  • Barium Studies: For this procedure you will have to drink a milky liquid (barium) before the test.  A number of X-rays are taken while you are moved around on a table.  This allows your doctor to see the liquid flowing through your gastrointestinal tract.

If you would like to read more about these tests, check out Crohn's & Coltis Foundation's Diagnosing and Monitoring IBD brochure.