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Observe Closely, Then Report continued...

Bring some stool samples to your checkup, too, he says.

Your doctor will also want to know what's happening on your scale. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, Cataldo says, then later in the day. If your weight drops, that's a symptom of fluid loss, which means you're becoming dehydrated.

Also, pay close attention to your urine. Is it getting darker? Or are you not peeing as much as you normally would? Those are other symptoms of dehydration.

Consider the Experimental

If the usual medicines for UC don't seem to help, ask if there are other treatments you can try. You can also ask if you could volunteer for research on UC, says Leyla J. Ghazi, MD. When you join a study, you might be able to get cutting-edge treatments and closely monitored care.

"At universities, you may have access to … treatments that may help when the standard treatments don't," Ghazi says. She's a gastroenterologist who specializes in inflammatory bowel disease at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Your doctor can discuss your care and work with other gastroenterologists there, too.

The bottom line? Make sure you like and trust your doctor and stay in touch, especially during flares.