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Crohn’s Disease: 5 Topics to Discuss With Your Doctor

Crohn's disease is a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Use these tips and topics to take an active role in your treatment for Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s Disease: 5 Topics to Discuss With Your Doctor

Crohn's disease is a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. It can cause a number of serious complications, especially when left untreated.

If you have Crohn’s disease, it is important to work with a healthcare provider to get treatment. Crohn’s disease is typically treated by a gastroenterologist, a healthcare provider that specializes in the treatment of diseases and disorders that affect the digestive system.

Below are topics to discuss during your appointment with your healthcare provider. It is helpful to spend some time thinking about these topics and writing down notes before you go to your appointment. Once you have your notes, prioritize the topics that you feel are most important for this appointment and make those the focus of your discussion with your healthcare provider.

Symptoms
Your healthcare provider needs to know about the symptoms that you are experiencing, any changes in symptoms since your last appointment, and any flare ups that you have experienced.

Treatment
Discuss your current treatment plan for Crohn’s, including:

  • How you feel your treatment plan is working.
  • How you will know if a therapy is working.
  • If you have questions about how a therapy works.
  • If you’ve had problems following your treatment plan—such as missing doses of medication or concerns about cost. In order to get the most benefit, it’s important to follow a treatment plan exactly as directed.
  • What to do if you miss a dose of medication.
  • If you have experienced any side effects from treatment.
  • What the next steps in your treatment are.
  • What other steps you can take to manage Crohn’s disease, such as changes to diet or lifestyle.

It is important to be as honest as possible with your healthcare providers. If you have concerns, talk about them.

Quality of life
Talk to your doctor about the ways Crohn’s disease impacts your quality of life, including work, relationships, hobbies, and your social life. Sleep, stress, and mental health are also important to discuss. Improving or maintaining a good quality of life should be an important aspect of managing Crohn’s disease.

Diagnosis
Diagnosing Crohn’s disease can be challenging. Sometimes, a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease will be changed to a diagnosis to ulcerative colitis (another form of IBD), another disorder, or another type of Crohn’s disease—which may occur if a different part of the GI tract is affected.

If you have questions or doubts about your diagnosis, bring these up at your appointment. Ask your healthcare provider about the differences between Crohn’s and other conditions and how diagnostic tests can help distinguish between Crohn’s and other conditions.

Take an active role
In order to get the most from treatment for Crohn’s disease you need to be an active participant in your care. Take time to learn about the condition and treatment options. Take time to prepare for your appointments. Be honest about what you need from treatment.

Medically reviewed in November 2020.

Sources:
MedlinePlus. "Crohn's Disease."
UC San Diego Health. "Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment."
MedicineNet. "What Is a Gastroenterologist?"
InflammatoryBowelDisease.net. "15 Questions Every Patient with IBD Should Ask Their Doctor."
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. "Questions to Ask Your Doctor."
University of Maryland Medical Center. "20 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About IBD."
Rachel N. Greenley, Jennifer H. Kunz, Jennifer Walter and Kevin A. Hommel. "Practical Strategies for Enhancing Adherence to Treatment Regimen in Inflammatory Bowel Disease." Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 2013. Vol. 19, No. 7.
Webber Chan, Andy Chen, et al. "Medication adherence in inflammatory bowel disease." Intestinal Research, 2017. Vol. 15, No. 4.
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. "Navigating Daily Life with IBD."
Farzaneh Habibi, Mohammad Emadoddin Habibi, et al. "Quality of Life in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: A cross-sectional study." Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 2017. Vol. 22, No 104.
Ho-Su Lee, Jaewon Choe, et al. "Change in the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease: a hospital-based cohort study from Korea." Intestinal Research, 2016. Vol. 14, No. 3.
Jiang-Peng Wei, Xiao-Yan Wu, et al. "Misdiagnosis and Mistherapy of Crohn's Disease as Intestinal Tuberculosis: Case Report and Literature Review." Medicine, 2016. Vol. 95, No. 1.
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. "Treatment Approaches: Shared Decision-Making."
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. "Overview of Crohn's Disease."

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