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A Gastroenterologist is a physician with dedicated training and unique experience in the management of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. If you are planning to visit one, you most likely have a problem in one or many organs like esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.
Visit your doctor to understand the severity of your condition and the course of treatment, as it is obvious that during this time you must be suffering from anxiety and you may not ask the questions arising in your mind. That is why you need to prepare in advance for your first visit with a gastroenterologist.
Being an active partner in the doctor patient relationship is bound to have its benefits. Here are some handy tips:
- Come mentally prepared: Don't let the anxiety get to you. If you need some extra help calming down, try yoga or meditation. You can simply go out on a walk alone to help you focus your thoughts. This is just like any other doctor visit. The good part is that you are taking the first step in easing your discomfort and starting treatment, so go with a positive mind.
- Maintain a diary of symptoms: It is likely that you are experiencing discomfort from past few days or weeks before you finally realize the need to seek out a specialist. Try to remember as much as possible about the symptoms you experienced in a chronological order. Write down any over the counter medicines you've tried or anything unusual that you may have consumed in the past week.
- Take stock of your medical history: It is likely that your doctor may want to know about any historic conditions you've suffered that may or may not relate to your present condition. Many ask you to fill out forms during your first time patient registration which includes many minor details about your medical past. List down any allergies, especially food allergies you have.
- Take stock of your recent medical tests: Bring your latest blood tests and imaging tests (X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and CT scans) with you for the doctor's visit. If you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes, thyroid or you suffer from other chronic conditions like increased uric acid, carry your most recent medical reports with you.
- Make a list of questions for the doctor: In most cases, the first visit is a crucial factor in determining whether you want to continue the course of treatment with a particular doctor. This comes out of your ability to trust the doctor, his knowledge and diagnosis and an overall comfort level that comes with how well he handles your questions. Start by making a list of questions you want to ask about your specific condition and course of treatment and see if you get satisfactory answers.
- Brace yourself: If you want to suggest a treatment option, make sure you read up all about it before you tell the doctor. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gastroenterologist.