How to Approach Discussing Crohn’s Disease with Your Doctor

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How to Approach Discussing Crohn’s Disease with Your Doctor

All of your Crohn’s symptoms should be discussed with your doctor.

It may be uncomfortable to talk about Crohn’s, but your doctor needs to know about your symptoms, including the nitty-gritty about your bowel movements. When discussing the disease with your doctor, be ready to talk about the following:

  • how many bowel movements you typically have per day
  • if your stool is loose
  • if there is blood in your stool
  • the location, severity, and duration of your abdominal pain
  • how often you experience a flare-up of symptoms

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    each month

  • if you’re experiencing any other symptoms not related to your gastrointestinal tract, including joint pain, skin issues, or eye problems
  • if you’re losing sleep or waking up frequently during the night because of urgent symptoms
  • if you have had any changes in appetite
  • if your weight has increased or decreased and by how much
  • how often you miss school or work because of your symptoms

Try to make it a habit to keep track of your symptoms and how they’re affecting your daily life. Also, mention to your doctor what you’ve been doing to help manage symptoms — including what worked and what didn’t.

Food and nutrition

Crohn’s can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which means you may be at a risk of malnutrition. It’s imperative that you take the time to talk about food and nutrition with your doctor. You probably already know there are some foods that affect your stomach and should be avoided. Your doctor can give you tips on what foods are highly nutritious and also safe for Crohn’s disease. At your appointment, ask about the following:

  • what foods and beverages to avoid and why
  • how to create a food diary
  • what foods are beneficial for those with Crohn’s disease
  • what to eat when your stomach is upset
  • if you should take any vitamins or supplements
  • if your doctor can recommend a registered dietician

Treatments and side effects

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating Crohn’s disease. You’ll want to go over all of the available treatments with your doctor and what they recommend given your unique symptoms and medical history.

Medications for Crohn’s disease include aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, antibiotics, and biologic therapies. They aim to suppress the inflammatory response caused by your immune system and to prevent complications. Each work in different ways.

Here are some things to ask your doctor about Crohn’s disease treatments:

  • if your doctor recommends a “step-up” approach (milder drugs first) or “top-down” approach (stronger drugs first)
  • why your doctor chose a particular medication
  • how long it takes to feel relief
  • what improvements you should expect
  • how often you have to take each medication
  • what the side effects are
  • whether the medication will interact with other medications
  • what over-the-counter drugs can be used to help with symptoms, like pain or diarrhea
  • when surgery is needed
  • what new treatments are in development
  • what will happen if you decide to decline treatment

Lifestyle changes

Apart from changing your diet, changes in your daily life can also help control your symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Ask your doctor if there is anything they recommend changing, such as:

  • how often you should exercise
  • what types of exercises are beneficial
  • how to reduce stress
  • if you smoke, how to quit

Read on: How to Approach Discussing Crohn’s Disease with Your Doctor | EmpowHER – Women’s Health Online

Read on: How to Approach Discussing Crohn’s Disease with Your Doctor | EmpowHER – Women’s Health Online

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from health care professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers.

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