At Your Appointment

Ulcerative Colitis Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • How many times are you having a bowel movement on a typical day?
  • How often do you have visible blood in your stool? More or less than half the time? Do you ever pass only blood?
  • How often are you experiencing other symptoms, including pain, cramping, urgency or incontinence? Daily, weekly, or less frequently?
  • How much is ulcerative colitis interfering with your social, physical, work or sexual activities? Frequently, occasionally, or rarely?
  • Are you having any problems with your joints, eyes, skin, or lining of your mouth?
  • Are you taking your ulcerative colitis medications as prescribed and following your treatment plan?
  • Describe your symptoms. Do you experience abdominal pain or cramping, bowel movement urgency, feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement, or diarrhea with blood or pus?
  • How severe are your symptoms? Does diarrhea ever wake you from sleep?
  • When did you first notice your symptoms? Are they persistent or do they come and go?
  • Have you recently taken antibiotics, traveled out of the country, or been around someone sick with diarrhea?
  • What makes your symptoms better or worse? Does your diarrhea respond to over-the-counter antidiarrheals?
  • Do you have a family history of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis?
  • What side effects are you noticing with your ulcerative colitis medicine?
  • What is your main concern about an ulcerative colitis diagnosis?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing? How severe and frequent are they?
  • Do my symptoms mean I have ulcerative colitis?
  • Could another medical condition be causing or contributing to my symptoms?
  • How do you diagnose ulcerative colitis?
  • How is ulcerative colitis different than Crohn's disease? How can you tell the difference between them?
  • What are the possible complications of ulcerative colitis?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse?
  • What treatment do you recommend for my ulcerative colitis? What are the side effects?
  • How often do I need follow-up appointments and testing, such as colonoscopy?
  • What foods should I limit or avoid?
  • What information should I include in my food diary?
  • What other changes to my eating habits or lifestyle do I need to make?
  • When do you recommend surgery? How will it help me?
  • Are there other ulcerative colitis medications that would do a better job of controlling my symptoms with fewer side effects?
  • Do my new or different symptoms mean my ulcerative colitis is getting worse?
  • Do you believe my symptoms are due to ulcerative colitis or another problem, such as Crohn's disease or an infection like C. diff? Why do you think this?
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Last Review Date: 2018 Sep 10
  1. Langan RC, Gotsch PB, Krafczyk MA, et al. Ulcerative colitis: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2007 Nov 1;76(9):1323-1330.
  2. Ulcerative Colitis. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ulcerative-colitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353331 
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