Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have signs or symptoms that worry you. If nonulcer stomach pain is suspected, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in digestive diseases (gastroenterologist).

How to prepare

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. To prepare, try to:

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, 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, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For nonulcer stomach pain, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing my stomach pain?
  • What are other possible causes for my stomach pain?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Is my stomach pain likely temporary or chronic?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
  • Is there a generic version of the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you 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 allow more time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Have you lost weight?
Dec. 09, 2011

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