Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the digestive system (gastroenterologist).

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
  • 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.
  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • What treatments are available?
  • Should I remove or add any foods to my diet?
  • I have other health conditions. 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 make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms? Are they worse after meals or lying down?
  • Do your symptoms wake you up at night?
  • Does food or sour material ever come up in the back of your throat?
  • Do you experience nausea or vomiting?
  • Do you have difficulty swallowing?
  • Have you lost or gained weight?

What you can do in the meantime

Try lifestyle changes to control your symptoms until you see your doctor. For instance, avoid foods that trigger your heartburn and avoid eating at least two hours before bedtime.

Aug. 07, 2014

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