Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are complicated. There are choices to make along the treatment journey, which means that patients and their healthcare providers need to work together to find the right path. That’s where shared decision-making comes into play.
Healthcare providers can help patients learn about their options but patients need to speak up and help their doctors understand what they want from their treatment options, because it’s not always obvious. To better understand shared decision-making in IBD, I speak to Dr Rajeev Jain, a gastroenterologist in private practice in Dallas, Texas and Caitlyn Smith, ulcerative colitis patient and editor at The Mighty.
After being diagnosed with a form of IBD, it can be a real challenge to understand that treatment is ongoing. Which might mean taking medications for long periods of time. It also means adding in lifestyle changes such as focusing on nutrition and diet, sleep, exercise, stress reduction, and learning about complimentary treatments that might be helpful.
There are a lot of barriers to getting treatment, though, including cost and access. Some people might not realize that not only can their healthcare team can help with accessing and understanding treatment choices, but that complimentary therapies have a valid place in the management of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Dr Badr Al-Bawardy, a gastroenterologist specializing in IBD and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and Tina Haupert, an ulcerative colitis patient, Certified Nutrition Coach, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, and founder of Carrots ‘N’ Cake uncover the ways medication and lifestyle changes can meet in the middle to help people with IBD live a better quality of life.
Setting goals is an important part of managing IBD. But after controlling symptoms: what other goals do patients have? They can be anything from being able to go up and down the stairs, to cooking a meal, to going back to an exercise program.
Treating to target is a concept that helps in goal-setting. But patients might not be using this method with their clinicians. Dr Neilanjan Nandi, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and IBD specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine and Jacklyn Green, ulcerative colitis patient, writer, and IBDMom, dig deeper into the idea of treat to target from both sides of the equation.
Once people understand that symptoms like ongoing diarrhea and bloody stools are not normal, they need a way to overcome embarrassment and talk their symptoms over with a health care provider. Having an open and honest conversation will help ensure a quicker diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and getting the right treatment.
On this episode, Rasheed Clarke, ulcerative colitis and j-pouch patient and author of Three Tablets Twice Daily and Dr Christina Ha, an IBDologist at the IBD Center at Cedars Sinai, provide support and guidance to patients with IBD symptoms, newly diagnosed patients, and anyone who is looking for a new way to speak with their health care providers about IBD treatments.