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Being open and honest with your doctor is an essential part of your IBD journey

Being open about your IBD can cause embarrassment, even with your doctor. We tend to avoid sharing details of our bathroom habits and play down our experiences. But providing as much detail as possible is key to managing IBD. Doctors need to know as much information as possible, to make an accurate diagnosis.

Don’t put it off.

Delaying a visit to the doctor to discuss symptoms can delay a diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis can cause symptoms get worse and can lead to more complications associated with the disease. It can also have a big impact on the success of treatment and increase the need for surgery.

Remember the details.

Doctors need to know as much detail as possible to allow them to make an accurate diagnosis. Some symptoms of IBD can be similar to other conditions and holding back information can lead to a mis-diagnosis. The correct diagnosis is crucial to successful management and treatment of the disease. Remember to detail any patterns in your symptoms, their frequency and any family history. This will help your doctor to identify any warning signs of IBD and ensure you are given the correct attention and if necessary, a referral to a specialist for diagnosis.

Understand the symptoms

While everyone’s experience of IBD is unique, it is important to identify what is normal for you, so you can flag any change with your doctor. Symptoms vary as patients go through periods of remission and flare ups, but identifying unusual change and being able to communicate these accurately will help allow your doctors to treat it accordingly.

Build communication

As an IBD patient, you are likely to see your doctor or IBD team fairly regularly. It is therefore important to build a good relationship with them, and the key to a good relationship is communication. The time you have with your doctor is valuable because what you can tell them about your symptoms will support your treatment and management of your IBD. Keeping a diary that you can take with you is a great way of making sure you don’t miss anything during your appointment. Ask as many questions as you can – prepare in advance so you can guide the discussion with the doctor and find out as much as possible about your condition. A doctor’s appointment should be a two-way channel of communication and your doctor will have access to many resources of information that can help you.

Reach out

Connecting with others living with IBD can provide a huge amount of support. Become a member of the UAE IBD Society, ask your doctor about local support groups or look online for ways you can connect with others. Living with a chronic condition can be a challenge but facing it with others will make it easier to navigate.