Health appointments can be daunting when you have Crohn’s or Colitis – no matter how many you’ve attended before.
There’s a lot to think about.
But you’re not on your own.
This information will help you get the most out of your time with health professionals, and focus on what matters to you. Download My appointments journal (PDF) to help you take note of how you’re feeling in between appointments, and keep everything neatly in one place. You may find it easier just to download and print the appointment pages (PDF).
Let us know your experiences using My appointments journal - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to share your experiences with the Crohn's and Colitis community.
Not everyone’s IBD team looks the same - but whoever you see, they’re all working to help keep you as healthy as they can.
Here are some of the health professionals and how can they help:
Remember that there may be another health professional who can help you reach a specific goal. You could ask if there’s anyone who can support you with diet or nutrition, looking after your mental health or alternative approaches to living with the condition.
If you want to, you can ask for a second opinion. Use our interactive map to search for local hospitals who have specialist services for IBD.
We've helped create guidelines on what quality care should look like at every point of a patient’s journey – from first symptoms, to diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care. These are the IBD Standards.
Keep a note of your team:
It can be helpful to note down things that trigger symptoms for you. Maybe it’s stress, certain foods - making notes will help you understand more about what you should (if you can!) avoid.
What helps you in a flare?
Make a note of tried and tested ways you can feel better. Have a plan of action that you’ve developed with your doctor or IBD nurse around what to do in a flare. Does your IBD service have a flare card? See our information for tips on what to do if you're having a flare.
Your health professionals probably won’t know what your priorities are. So setting goals for what you want out of your treatment is really useful for staying focused.
What’s your normal?
Let your health professional know what‘s usual for you - it’s easy to get used to living with symptoms that you shouldn’t.
Crohn’s and Colitis affect more than just guts. Think about what's bothering you and let your health professionals know.
...and repeat back what you’ve understood.
Ask health professional to draw a diagram to help show things like:
It takes guts to be assertive with your doctor. But being clear about your needs is the best way to get the most out of your time, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about what matters to you.
Your feelings and symptoms are valid. Health professionals see a variety of people, some of whom are very ill. But don’t let what you’re going through be dismissed. Needing the toilet five times a day may seem less serious in comparison to others, but it doesn’t mean it’s not having a huge impact on your life.
There’s no right or wrong way to say how you feel, or describe symptoms. Here are some words and phrases that might be helpful along with some handy tools.
Don’t be afraid to use emotive language to say how bad things are for you.
Describing your poo
Not sure what to ask at your appointment? Not to worry - we’ve put together a useful list of questions that people with Crohn’s or Colitis often want to know.
Pick the ones that are most relevant to you. You don’t need to ask everything at once – if you think of something later, you could send an email or call. We have a wealth of information about Crohn's and Colitis which can also help answer general questions.
Keep notes so you're prepared. You can use the pages in My appointments journal (PDF).
Before you leave your appointment, check that you know what will happen next. These questions can help clear up any uncertainty.
Keep a note of how it went, what your health professional has agreed to do and what you've agreed to. My appointment journal can help with this.
If you'll soon be transitioning from paediatric to adult care for your Crohn's or Colitis, our Transition guide has all the information you need to help you to understand what might happen and how you can prepare for appointments with your new team.
Have you used My appointments journal at an appointment for your Crohn's or Colitis? We'd love to hear how it went! Email us at email@example.com and we may share your experience online.
Crohn’s & Colitis UK received funding from Pfizer and AbbVie, who had no input into the content or design of this information.
We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.
Our helpline team can provide information on a range of subjects including:
Please contact us via telephone, email or LiveChat - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except English bank holidays).
If you need specific medical advice about your condition, your GP or IBD team will be best placed to help.