Preparing for your appointment

Make an appointment with the doctor who prescribed the antibiotic. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes, including if you've recently stayed in the hospital or a nursing home.
  • Medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking, including doses. If you've recently taken antibiotics, include the name, dosage and when you stopped taking it.
  • Questions to ask your doctor.

For antibiotic-associated diarrhea, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Are there restrictions I should follow?
  • Are there foods and drinks I should avoid?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Can you describe your bowel movements? How frequent are they?
  • Do you have a history of intestinal problems such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or other inflammatory bowel disease?
  • Have you been around anyone with diarrhea recently?

What you can do in the meantime

Continue taking your antibiotics as directed by your doctor.

To cope with diarrhea until your appointment, you can:

  • Drink more water and other liquids to replace fluids lost because of diarrhea.
  • Eat soft, bland foods and avoid spicy or greasy foods that can aggravate diarrhea.
July 29, 2016
References
  1. Diarrheal diseases: Acute and chronic. American College of Gastroenterology. http://patients.gi.org/topics/diarrhea-acute-and-chronic/. Accessed March 27, 2016.
  2. Varughese CA, et al. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea: A refresher on causes and possible prevention with probiotics — continuing education article. Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 2013;26:476.
  3. Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#treated. Accessed March 27, 2016.
  4. Lamont JT. Clostridium difficile infection in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 27, 2016.
  5. Kelly CP, et al. Patient information: Antibiotic-associated diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile (Beyond the Basics). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 27, 2016.
  6. Fleisher GR. Evaluation of diarrhea in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 27, 2016.
  7. Surawicz CM, et al. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridium difficile infections. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:478.
  8. Managing diarrhea. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. http://www.iffgd.org/site/gi-disorders/functional-gi-disorders/diarrhea/management. Accessed March 27, 2016.