Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If your doctor suspects you have cholecystitis, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the digestive system (gastroenterologist), or your doctor may refer you directly to the hospital.

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For cholecystitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Is cholecystitis the likely cause of my abdominal pain?
  • What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Do I need gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy)?
  • When do I need gallbladder surgery?
  • What are the risks of surgery?
  • How long does it take to recover from gallbladder surgery?
  • Are there other treatment options for cholecystitis?
  • Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional 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 you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have you had bouts of pain similar to this before?
  • Do you have a fever?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Sep. 01, 2011

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