Preparing for your appointment

Your primary care doctor can usually treat pseudomembranous colitis. Based on your signs and symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist in digestive diseases (gastroenterologist). If your signs and symptoms are particularly severe, you may be told to seek emergency treatment.

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

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:

  • When did you first begin experiencing signs and symptoms?
  • Do you have diarrhea?
  • Is there blood or pus in your stools?
  • Do you have a fever?
  • Are you having abdominal pain?
  • Have your symptoms stayed the same or gotten worse?
  • During the last several weeks, have you taken antibiotics, had a surgical procedure or been hospitalized?
  • Is anyone at home sick with diarrhea, or has anyone at home been hospitalized in the last several weeks?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with diarrhea related to C. difficile or antibiotics?
  • Do you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease?
  • Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
  • Have you traveled recently to areas with an unsafe water supply?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

While you're waiting for your appointment, drink plenty of fluids and stick to bland foods to help you cope with diarrhea.

Jan. 08, 2016
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