Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have cirrhosis, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the digestive system (gastroenterologist) or the liver (hepatologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as diet restrictions on the day before your appointment.
  • Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how they may have changed or worsened over time.
  • Take a list of all your medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements.
  • Write down your key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.
  • Bring results of medical tests done so far, including digital copies of CT, MRI or ultrasound images and biopsy slides if a liver biopsy has been done.
  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
  • Take a family member or friend along to help you remember things.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is most likely causing my cirrhosis?
  • Is there a way to slow or stop my liver damage?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • How can I protect my liver from further damage?
  • Are there medications that can hurt my liver?
  • What signs and symptoms of complications should I watch for?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?

Don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Be prepared to answer questions your doctor is likely to ask, including:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • 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?
  • How often do you drink alcohol?
  • Have you been exposed to or taken toxic drugs?
  • Do you have a family history of liver disease, hemochromatosis or obesity?
Jan. 30, 2013