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15 Questions Every Patient With IBD Should Ask Their GI

One of the best things a patient can be armed with is knowledge. In my experience, the more that I understand about my illness the better I am able to live my life with my Crohn's disease.

In the past I made a lot of mistakes – I stopped taking my medications when I was growing up because I didn’t understand why it was important to keep taking them even when I felt well. I put off doctors' appointments, I decided that I wanted to treat my disease "naturally" (whatever that means), and I let inflammation go uncontrolled, which ultimately led to complications and surgeries down the road. I didn’t have good doctors, I didn’t have support from loved ones, and I didn’t have the tools/education to help myself.

As I grew up and was able to take my health into my own hands more, I armed myself with accurate information about IBD that led me to make better decisions for my health. Understanding IBD has helped me feel like an empowered patient.

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Below I left a list of 15 questions that I think are very important to have the answers to as a patient with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. It’s probably not possible to ask all 15 questions in one appointment, so break them up into a few appointments. Bring some paper and a pen with you to jot down the answers and it also helps to bring another person with you because 2 sets of ears are better than one!

15 Questions every IBD patient should have the answer to about their Crohn’s or UC:

  1. Do I have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis? How do you know this?
  2. Where is the inflammation in my gut located? Large bowel, small bowel, both? Is it continuous or are there skip patterns?
  3. Do you see any other bigger intestinal complications? Strictures, fistulas, abscesses?
  4. Would you classify my disease right now as mild, moderate, or severe?
  5. If I am on steroids what is your exit plan?
  6. What drug therapy (or combination) do you think would be best for me and why?
  7. How will we know if this medication is working for me?
  8. Why do I need to take my medication all the time and what happens if I don’t?
  9. How will you monitor my disease to get me into remission and to keep me there?
  10. How do we address symptoms that occur even when I am in endoscopic remission?
  11. What are the possible side-effects of my medications?
  12. What are the possible repercussions for not taking my medications?
  13. Is there a diet that can treat inflammation caused by IBD or does diet just help control symptoms?
  14. Where do you recommend I get information about IBD?
  15. Do you provide patients with educational resources or do you have patient education nights?

You can get a printable list of these questions here: Questions to Ask Your GI.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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