Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases, when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a specialist called an endocrinologist.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do to prepare for common diagnostic tests.
- Write down all symptoms and changes you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to each other.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent life changes or a noticeable difference in your ability to tolerate stress.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including recent surgical procedures, the names of all medications you're taking and any other conditions for which you've been treated. Your doctor will also want to know about any recent injuries to your head.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may help you remember what your doctor tells you.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Create a list of questions before your appointment so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. For hypopituitarism, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How long will I need to take medications?
- How will you monitor whether my treatment is working?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Do you have brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any questions you have during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you some questions, such as:
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- Have you noticed any changes in your vision?
- Do you experience severe headaches?
- Has your appearance changed, including your weight or the amount of your body hair?
- Have you lost interest in sex? Has your menstrual cycle changed?
- Are you currently being treated or have you recently been treated for any other medical conditions?
- Have you recently had a baby?
- Have you had a recent head injury or neurosurgery?
- Have any of your family members been diagnosed with pituitary or hormonal conditions?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Generalized hypopituitarism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec12/ch151/ch151c.html. Accessed Feb. 22, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Feb. 22, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Feb. 22, 2013.
- Appelman-Dijkstra NM, et al. Pituitary dysfunction in adult patients after cranial radiotherapy: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2011;96:2330.
- Toogood AA, et al. Hypopituitarism: Clinical features, diagnosis and management. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. 2008;37:235.