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.
  • 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 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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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Sep 10
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. 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