When You're New to Crohn's Disease
When you first learn you have Crohn's disease, you'll have questions about how it will affect your lifestyle. Learn all you can about the disease and how to manage it, so you can keep doing the things you love.
Find a Doctor and Treatment Center
First, you need a doctor who specializes in treating the digestive tract -- a gastroenterologist. Ask your primary doctor for a recommendation.
You can also look up doctors who specialize in treating Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) on the web sites of these organizations:
- American College of Gastroenterology
- American Gastroenterological Association
- Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
When you choose a doctor, consider these questions:
How many people with IBD does this doctor see each year? You want to work with a doctor who sees a lot of people with Crohn’s. They understand what's involved in treating people with this condition and have more experience prescribing the medications to control the disease.
Is the doctor covered by your insurance? Call your insurance company and the doctor’s office to confirm that your health plan will cover the doctor’s services.
Where is the doctor’s office located, and what are his hours? Choose a doctor near your home, if possible, to give yourself peace of mind that there’s help nearby when you need it.
Do you feel that the doctor listens to you and respects you?
Crohn's can be hard to talk about. And because it affects so many aspects of your life, it's important to choose a doctor you can talk with openly and honestly.
Which hospital or treatment center does the doctor work with? You may want to choose a hospital at the same time you select a doctor. Although not everyone with Crohn’s disease will need to go to the hospital, many do, especially when they've had the condition for a long time. It’s better to pick a place when you feel well than when you’re in the middle of a flare.
Educate Yourself About Crohn’s
Knowledge is power. When you have a serious health condition like Crohn’s disease, it’s important to learn all you can about it.
Your doctor should be your first resource for learning about the condition and treatment options. It helps to write down your questions before your visit and bring them with you, so you can easily ask all of them. You can also ask a relative or friend to come with you to your appointments to make sure you remember everything your doctor said.