Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, visit your primary care doctor. If your doctor suspects that you have a condition involving your liver, you may need additional tests and referral to a liver specialist (hepatologist).

Because appointments can be brief, and there's a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to 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, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may recall something that you missed or forgot.

It's also helpful to write down questions you may want to ask your doctor. Possible questions:

  • How are my symptoms related to my enlarged liver?
  • Is the cause of my enlarged liver more likely to be a primary liver disease or the result of a disease originating in another organ?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Is my condition temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available?
  • Could liver enlargement be related to other medical conditions I have, or to medications I take for those conditions?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Will I need follow-up visits?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask questions about your past and current use of alcohol and drugs, as well as your sexual history. For a correct diagnosis, it’s important that you answer these questions honestly. Be sure to report recent illnesses and overseas travel as well. Other questions may focus on your eating and exercise habits.

Nov. 27, 2015