Preparing for your appointment

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs and symptoms that worry you. If you're diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, you may need tests to look for a source of blood loss, including tests to examine your gastrointestinal tract.

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

What you can do

  • 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 you're taking.
  • 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. For iron deficiency anemia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have another health condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
  • 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 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 reserve time to go over points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Have you noticed unusual bleeding, such as heavy periods, bleeding from hemorrhoids or nosebleeds?
  • Are you a vegetarian?
  • Have you recently donated blood more than once?
Nov. 11, 2016
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  2. Schrier SL, et al. Treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  3. Iron-deficiency anemia. American Society of Hematology. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  4. Vitamin C: Fact sheet for health professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  5. What is iron-deficiency anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  6. Schrier SL, et al. Approach to the adult patient with anemia. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  7. Mahoney DH, et al. Iron deficiency in infants and young children: Treatment. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  8. Iron: Fact sheet for health professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  9. CBC with differential, blood. Mayo Medical Laboratories. Accessed Oct. 16, 2016.
  10. Mesa RA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. October 17, 2016.