What To Expect
Patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can expect an office visit with their physician every 6 to 12 months. It is important for you to follow-up on a regular basis so your physician can evaluate your symptoms and monitor for potential side effects of medications. Your physician will also order blood work every 6 months to monitor for side effects. However, if you are taking an immune suppressing medication or biologic, your physician will monitor your blood work every 3 months. In order for your physician to refill your medications you will need to have your blood drawn and follow-up in the office when scheduled.
It is important for patients to be up to date on all vaccines. Your physician will recommend the following vaccines: yearly flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine with booster 5 years after initial dose, Prevnar13 vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine series and hepatitis B vaccine series, Shingrix vaccine (inactive). Additional vaccines may be recommended based on your age. If you are taking an immune suppressing medication or biologic you will NOT be able to receive any live vaccines. Be sure to inform your primary care physician once you start on these medications. Live vaccines include: Influenza nasal mist, Varicella (chicken pox), Zoster (shingles), MMR, BCG (tuberculosis), Rotavirus, oral Typhoid, Vaccinia (small pox) and Yellow fever.
Depending on what medications you are prescribed, your physician may also recommend a yearly gynecological exam (for females) and a yearly exam by a dermatologist. A DEXA scan, or bone density scan, will be recommended for patients who have taken steroids, as they can decrease your bone density, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. All Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis patients should also get a yearly physical with a primary care physician.
Our multidisciplinary approach provides you with the optimal opportunity to establish an individualized treatment plan with your dedicated gastroenterologist and case manager. Case managers play a critical role in patient care at Midwest Gastrointestinal Associates, PC. Case managers act as liaisons between primary care physicians, our specialists and insurance companies to provide optimal care for IBD patients. Our approach facilitates treatment plans, coordinates outreach services and helps patients manage routine office visits and procedures. Our case managers assist with issues pertaining to your inflammatory bowel disease including: symptoms, flares, side effects of medicines, prescription refills and blood tests. MGI strives to promote the healthy, active lifestyle of the IBD patient.