Why having open conversations with your doctor is important
Published: November 1, 2022
Have you ever felt uncomfortable or sensitive talking to your doctor about symptoms and emotional concerns you’re experiencing? If so, you are not alone.
A global survey concluded that four out of 10 people living with ulcerative colitis (UC) in the U.S. were worried that if they ask too many questions, their gastroenterologist (GI) will see them as a difficult patient, and it will affect their quality of care.1 Additionally, 42% of UC patients surveyed said their GI rarely has time to address all their questions/concerns.1
Those and more are some of the findings derived from the UC Narrative Global Survey. This global initiative was created by Pfizer to engage the UC community and help identify how people living with UC are impacted by the disease. The survey was done in collaboration with patients, leading healthcare experts, and patient organizations.
While talking about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), like UC or Crohn’s disease, can feel uncomfortable, it is very important to have open conversations with your doctor. Speaking up can help establish an effective partnership with your doctor. By making sure your doctor understands all aspects of your health challenges, you’re supporting them in helping you manage your condition.
Due to the symptoms and daily life stressors that often come with having a chronic inflammatory condition such as UC or Crohn’s, you may experience frustration and emotional challenges. Almost half of UC patients said they don’t feel comfortable talking about their emotional concerns and 34% of patients in the U.S. wished their GI better understood how much UC impacts their mental health.1 In addition to sharing your physical symptoms with your gastroenterologist, it may be worthwhile to share how you’re feeling emotionally as well.
Open conversations involve sharing your symptoms, experiences, and information about your emotional health with your GI. Here are a few tips for building an effective partnership with your healthcare team:
• To make sure your GI is aware of the things you are most concerned about write down your questions and take them with you to your next appointment.
• Think of the day-to-day things in your life that you enjoy or wish you were able to do again. Use those as the starting place for setting goals with your healthcare professional, and make sure that the plan for managing your disease is on track.
• Remember, you are not alone. There are many support groups and organizations for patients, like the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
You can find more resources that may help you improve conversations with your doctor at TalkingUC.com – an initiative brought to you by Pfizer Inc. in partnership with people living with UC, gastroenterologists, and nurses to engage everyone in the UC community in a dialogue about the condition.
1. Survey Results | UC Narrative Global Survey | Talking UC. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://www.talkinguc.com/uc-narrative/survey-results
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