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1. How often do Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis symptoms, like abdominal pain, cramping, bowel movement urgency, or fatigue, interfere with your daily activities?

It’s important to tell your doctor if your Crohn’s or colitis symptoms affect your ability to work, complete household tasks, care for yourself or your family, run errands, enjoy hobbies, or socialize. It’s also important to tell your doctor if your symptoms are affecting your mental health. Sharing how your condition affects your quality of life can help your doctor provide you with the best care possible.

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2. How often do you have severe abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain is a common symptom of both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Many scales used to determine the severity of your IBD consider abdominal pain as a factor.

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3. How often do you have diarrhea or loose stools?

Fewer than four loose stools per day is generally considered mild ulcerative colitis, while more than six loose stools is considered more severe. Frequent diarrhea is also problematic in Crohn’s disease. The presence of blood in the stool is another sign that your condition could be more severe.

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4. Have you recently lost more than 10 percent of your body weight unintentionally?

Your doctor may consider any unintentional weight loss when evaluating your Crohn’s or colitis disease severity. Losing more than 10 percent of your body weight can indicate poor disease control and malnourishment.

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5. Does Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis interfere with your ability to eat and drink normally?

The ability to eat and drink is a consideration when evaluating the severity of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Not being able to eat and drink normally can contribute to malnourishment and dehydration.

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6. Do side effects from your medication make it difficult to stick to your treatment plan?

Talk to your doctor if medication side effects are making it difficult for you to stick to your treatment plan. Let your doctor know if other aspects of your medication, such as how it’s administered or how frequently you take it, make it hard for you to take it as prescribed. 

Medication adherence is important for controlling your symptoms. Poor adherence to inflammatory bowel disease treatment can lead to poor health outcomes, hospitalization, and reduced quality of life.
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