Tips for Going to the Doctor When You Have IBD

Most people visit their doctor once or twice a year, while people with IBD will have to visit their doctor multiple times a year. This all depends on the severity of your condition, what tests you need, treatment options and so on. Having a health care team that you feel comfortable with is crucial. Since it can be intimidating going to so many doctors’ appointments, here are a few tips to help it run smoothly.

Be prepared.

Make sure to check ahead of time to see if you need to have anything prepared for your doctor’s appointment. For example, you may need to fast before because you are getting bloodwork done or drink something in particular before a colonoscopy. It is much better to be over prepared then scramble at the last minute!

Bring a friend or family member for moral support.

It can be daunting walking into a doctor’s office by yourself. Bringing a family member or friend will help you relax and feel more comfortable, as well as help you remember the information you are being given by the doctors. If you are supposed to receive big news in that appointment it will also give you some extra moral support.

Find the right fit.

Not every doctor is going to be a good fit for everyone. Take the time to get to know your doctor, make sure you have the same goals for your health, and that you feel comfortable with them. It is crucial that you are able to trust your doctor!

Write down your questions ahead of time.

Sometimes we can get anxious and nervous before going to a doctor’s appointment. We all know the feeling where the appointment is over, you walk outside, and you think to yourself “aw man I forgot to ask __.” Avoid this feeling by writing down questions that pop into your head a few days or weeks prior to your appointment. You can write them on a sticky note or even an index card and keep it in your purse or wallet. This way you get all of your questions answered!

Keep a log of your food intake and bathroom breaks.

When you have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, it is important to keep track of how often you are going to the bathroom. Many gastroenterologists will ask you that to make sure you are on the correct regimen. The amount of times you are using the restroom can correlate to the severity of your flare. The same goes for you food intake. If you are having less of an appetite your doctor needs to be aware of that so they can help you.

Be your own advocate.

Always be your own advocate! You know your body better than anyone. Stick up for yourself and what you feel like you need. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you; make the calls, do your research and put yourself first.