Let’s face it, constipation is uncomfortable. Constipation not only causes physical discomfort, but it can…
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), your head is likely spinning. You’re being bombarded with new information, new terms, and you’re being asked to make decisions about your IBD care.
The best way to approach managing your IBD is to work closely with your doctor and treatment team to develop a plan of action. Read on for our top tips for talking with your doctor about your IBD!
1. Understand your IBD
If you’re new to the world of IBD, you may be confused by all the acronyms and terminology that are used.
Ask your doctor to clarify what part of your intestines are affected. We break down the different parts of the digestive system in this article so you can better understand the anatomy of your disease.
2. Be open about your IBD symptoms
When discussing your IBD with your doctor, it’s essential to always be honest about your symptoms. Your doctor has heard everything, so there is no need to be embarrassed. Plus, not telling your doctor about a potentially severe symptom could be harmful to your health.
Here are just some of the symptoms that you should be discussing with your doctor:
- Appearance of blood in your stool
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in your bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, etc.)
- Weight loss
- Inability to engage in everyday activities
It’s very important to tell your doctor if you believe you are having a flare of your IBD symptoms. If you’re having abdominal pain, take note of the specific location or locations. You should also ask your doctor for a full list of symptoms that they consider to be an emergency.
3. Talk about your treatment options
When it comes to treating IBD, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Your doctor has likely provided you with treatment options for managing your disease and may be asking you to decide how you would like to move forward. At this point, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor in order to understand the risks and benefits and make an informed decision.
4. Find out what’s next
After being diagnosed with IBD, your first few appointments will likely focus on addressing inflammation and putting together an action plan. But don’t forget about managing your IBD in the long-term.
Ask your doctor if there are any other tests that they recommend. You should also find out how often they want you to come in for appointments and how frequently you should get follow-up testing (like colonoscopies).
While learning you have IBD can feel overwhelming at first, your doctor and treatment team are here to help you navigate managing your condition. It’s essential to talk openly with your doctor about the details of your IBD and to understand your treatment plan in the short and long-term.
Katelyn Collins, RD is a registered dietitian specializing in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and digestive health. Katelyn’s personal experience with IBS first sparked her passion for nutrition and health. Since then, she has been a vocal advocate for the digestive health community and has dedicated her own nutrition practice to serving those with digestive conditions.