Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as fasting 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.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.
  • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? Is there any special preparation for them?
  • What kinds of treatments do I need?
  • What follow-up care will I need?
  • I have other health problems. 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 leave time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:

  • What are your symptoms, and when did they begin?
  • How severe are your symptoms? Are they occasional or continuous?
  • Does anything improve or worsen your symptoms?
  • Do you have a family history of colon cancer, polyps or familial adenomatous polyposis?
  • Do you take medications to reduce stomach acid?
Oct. 17, 2015