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Living Well with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the Healthgrades advertising policy.
At Your Appointment

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Appointment Guide

Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • Please describe the symptoms and issues you’re having that led you to schedule this online appointment. Start at the beginning of this current episode and tell me how and when things have changed and progressed.
  • How many times are you having a bowel movement on a typical day?
  • How would you rate your abdominal pain over the last seven days? None, mild, moderate or severe?
  • How often are you experiencing other symptoms such as cramping, urgency or incontinence?
  • How often does Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis interfere with your social, physical, work, or sexual activities?
  • Are you having any problems with your weight, joints, eyes, skin, or lining of your mouth?
  • When was your last endoscopy or colonoscopy?
  • Describe your symptoms. Are you having abdominal pain or cramping, diarrhea, or stool with blood or pus in it?
  • When did you first notice your symptoms? Are they persistent or do they come and go?
  • Do you have symptoms outside your gut, such as fatigue, fever, mouth sores, or weight loss?
  • How severe are your symptoms? Do they interfere with your activities?
  • Are your symptoms constant or do you have periods of time without them?
  • What, if anything, makes your symptoms better or worse?
  • Do you notice anything that triggers your symptoms and makes them worse?
  • Do you have a family history inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
  • What treatment do you recommend for my inflammatory bowel disease? What are the side effects?
  • When do you recommend biologic medications for inflammatory bowel disease?
  • Can surgery help my type of inflammatory bowel disease?
  • What changes do I need to make to my eating habits or lifestyle habits?
  • What information should I include in my inflammatory bowel disease diary?
  • How often will I need follow-up testing or appointments?
  • Do my symptoms mean I have inflammatory bowel disease?
  • What other possible conditions could be causing my symptoms?
  • How do you diagnose inflammatory bowel disease?
  • How can you tell the difference between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
  • What causes inflammatory bowel disease?
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Medical Reviewer: Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP
Last Review Date: 2023 Dec 1
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. McDowell, C., et al. (2023). Inflammatory bowel disease.
  2. Okobi, O.E., et al. (2021). A review of four practice guidelines of inflammatory bowel disease.