IBD: How to Effectively Communicate with Your Doctor

You and your doctor share a very personal connection, built upon openness about your condition, and trust that they will guide you towards remission and better health. But in order for them to recommend the right treatments, it’s essential for you to effectively communicate and share details about what you’ve been experiencing. Learn the best ways to connect with your doctor and express what you really need in order to start feeling and getting better.


Communicate your needs

Think about the last time you felt satisfied leaving your doctor’s office or after a call with them. Feeling like your concerns were truly heard and considered. What happened during that interaction that was helpful?


If it’s been a while or you feel like this hasn’t happened at all, it’s worth assessing the level of communication between you and your doctor. It can feel really frustrating when your needs aren’t met. There are of course cases when a doctor simply isn’t a good fit, but first, try to improve your interactions with these tips.


Keep a journal


It’s normal to forget the details of your condition and how you feel on a daily basis. That’s why it can be favorable to keep a journal with your condition concerns and successes. At least a few days before your appointment, make a list of your troubles and recent symptoms. If possible, track them and see if you notice a connection to your daily habits. The more details you can provide, such as medications and supplements you’ve been taking, the better.


Use a helpful tool such as Nori Health to help you keep track of, and connect your behaviors to your symptoms. Before you go to the doctor, narrow the list down to the main points you discovered and consider giving the list to your doctor so they can follow along.


Speak up

Doctors tend to take the information you provide and prioritize the main concerns that are presented early during your appointment. Make sure they know your main issues at the start of the appointment. When you’re experiencing bothersome symptoms, make sure to be honest about how they feel. If you tell your doctor you have a “bit” of pain, they most likely won’t take action to help improve it. But if your pain is keeping you up at night and interfering with sleep, say so!



Like any form of effective communication, half is listening. If you’re not fully present and taking in what your doctor is recommending, you may not be able to effectively put their advice into action. If your doctor talks fast, it’s good to take a breath, focus on what they say, and ask them questions along the way. Consider bringing a notepad or tape recorder. Or bring a friend or family member to the appointment to help be a second pair of ears, especially when something more detailed or stressful is being discussed.


Share your knowledge

Doctors are extremely well educated, but you can’t expect them to know everything. As you work your way through the Nori Health program, you’ll learn about exciting new research as well as experiment with habit-changing methods. Share the education that you found interesting and helpful. This helps your physician adjust your treatment and personalize it towards what works best for you.



Take the initiative to ask your doctor when the next visit should be. Get it on your schedule and prioritize your health by sticking to it. If your doctor or clinic allows you to keep email communication, use it to share your progress, even if things are going well! If you have any shift in your lifestyle or start to experience symptoms, make note and don’t wait until they get bad.


Nori health: ongoing support

Nori Health will be there for you between your doctor visits to help you understand what’s going on with your condition and what habits you have control over. Using the program also helps provide you with the space to express your symptoms so you can more easily communicate them to your physician and health care team. In addition, build your support system by sharing with your friends, family, and support groups.

Nori Health™ is a 6-week digital therapy program guided by a chat coach. Improve symptoms and quality of life through personal and anonymous conversations. Patients increase management of the condition by over 30%, with relief related to extreme fatigue and pain.

If you’re a physician or pharma company and want to provide Nori to help improve engagement and treatment for your patients. Click here to learn more.



This article has been written by Lisa Booth, registered dietitian and nutritionist, and co-founder of Nori Health. Content is based on her professional knowledge and our collection of 100+ scientific research study papers.