Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Go to the emergency room if you have severe abdominal pain that makes you so uncomfortable that you can't sit still. You may be referred for immediate surgery to diagnose and treat your condition.

If your signs and symptoms are moderate and occasional, call your doctor for an appointment. After an initial evaluation, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in digestive disorders (gastroenterologist) or blood vessel disorders (vascular surgeon).

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 not eating after midnight on the night before your appointment.
  • Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how they may have changed or worsened over time.
  • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What is the most likely cause of my condition?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • If I need surgery, what will my recovery be like?
  • How will my diet and lifestyle change after I have surgery?
  • What follow-up care will I need?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about your symptoms, such as:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Where do you feel your symptoms the most?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to worsen your symptoms?
Oct. 10, 2012

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