Your health is one aspect of your life that you need to seriously care about. Therefore, preparing for your doctor’s appointment regarding your colitis will help you address this problem effectively and get the best possible treatment.
If you come prepared for your appointment, even a 15-minute appointment with your doctor can make you much more informed about your healthcare and condition. The doctor can get as much things done if you come in along with a list of the specific dates and times of your symptoms all written down rather than depending on your not-so-reliable memory.
Below are some helpful guides to assist you in making your coming appointment as fruitful and as efficient as possible.
Prior to the appointment:
- Keep a diary or journal of questions to ask your doctor – Your ulcerative colitis may bother you at times when you least expect it and unless you have written everything down, chances are high that you will not remember them all. Write down all your questions to address your physician in the journal.
- Possess a symptoms and food journal – Monitoring and listing down faithfully your diet and symptoms can give your doctor a much clearer picture of your everyday condition. The doctor may be able to glean a pattern from your notes that can give him ideas for the right treatment.
- Fax or email any relevant information about your condition to the doctor’s office – When you have information that you want your doctor to possess, email or fax them and talk about them during your appointment.
Things to bring to the appointment:
- Family member, friend or spouse to help you out with
- A small notebook for note taking
- Symptoms and food journal
- A list of current medicines and their doses – Include also steroids, herbs and supplements
- List of concerns and questions
During the appointment:
- Write down or better yet if you have a companion, have him take notes of comments, answers or questions made by your physician. Ask for the right spelling of unfamiliar words, tests and drugs.
- Ask your physician if he has any informational materials like brochures, pamphlets or books available that can help enlighten you more about your condition. These materials may have answers to questions you might have regarding certain drugs, procedures and tests.
If you still have unanswered questions, you can stay in touch with your doctor by email or fax.
- Some of the questions you can ask you doctor can include:
- Should I change my diet?
- Should I keep a diary of my diet and symptoms?
- What foods should I take during symptom flare-up?
- Should my condition make me more concerned about nutritional deficiencies in my diet?
- Are there risks to my condition?
- What do I need to do to improve my symptoms?
- Can drugs help treat or lessen my symptoms?
- What treatment is needed when flare ups start to occur?
- What tests are needed to diagnose my condition?
- Do I need surgery?
- What’s the prognosis for a person with my condition?
Questions the doctor may ask you may include these:
- When did you first start noticing your symptoms?
- Have they (your symptoms) been intermittent or constant?
- Do you have mild, moderate or severe symptoms? If severe, how severe are they?
- Do you have stomach pain?
- Did you experience diarrhea? Has it been frequent?
- Have you had any unexplained weight loss recently?
- What things seem to better your condition? What seems to worsen them?
- Have you recently had jaundice, hepatitis or liver problems?
- Did you ever take isotretinoin (acne drug)?
- Have you recently used antibiotics?
- Does anyone at your home have diarrhea?
- Have you traveled lately? Where?
- Where you compelled to wake up during your sleep because of diarrhea?
- Did you recently have any eye or joint problem, skin sores or rashes or mouth sores?
Juliette Aiyana is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs in New York City.