Preparing for your appointment

You may be referred to a digestive disease specialist (gastroenterologist).

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as restricting your diet.
  • Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements.
  • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life. Track your alcohol consumption for a few days so you can let your doctor know how much you regularly consume.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.
  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms? Are there any other possible causes?
  • What tests do I need? Is there any special preparation for them?
  • Is my condition temporary or chronic?
  • What treatments are available? Which one do you recommend?
  • I have other health problems. How can I best manage these conditions together?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may leave time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:

  • What are your symptoms, and when did they begin?
  • How severe are your symptoms? Are they occasional or continuous?
  • Does anything improve or worsen your symptoms?
  • How often do you drink alcohol, and how many drinks do you usually consume?
  • Have you ever had hepatitis or yellowing of the skin?
  • Do you use any other recreational drugs?
  • Are your family members or friends concerned about your drinking? Have you had social consequences — such as an arrest— because of your drinking?
  • Do you get angry or anxious when the subject of your drinking is discussed?
  • Do you feel guilty about drinking?
  • Do you drink in the morning — do you need an eye-opener?