Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease may first prompt a visit to your family doctor or general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating digestive disorders (gastroenterologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of information to discuss, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to 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 made 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.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember everything during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions beforehand may help you make the most of your visit. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For inflammatory bowel disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's causing these symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Are there any medications that I should avoid?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- What sort of follow-up care do I need? How often do I need a colonoscopy?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to follow any dietary restrictions?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Is there a risk to me or my child if I become pregnant?
- Is there a risk of complications to my partner's pregnancy if I have IBD and father a child?
- What is the risk to my child of developing IBD if I have it?
- Are there support groups for people with IBD and their families?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or intermittent?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you have abdominal pain?
- Have you had diarrhea? How often?
- Have you lost weight unintentionally?
- Have you ever had liver problems, hepatitis or jaundice?
- Have you ever taken the acne medication isotretinoin?
- Have you had problems with your joints, eyes or skin — including rashes and sores — or had sores in your mouth?
- Do you have a family history of inflammatory bowel disease?
- Do your symptoms affect your ability to work or do other activities?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Is there anything that you've noticed that makes your symptoms worse?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you take NSAIDs, for example, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or diclofenac (Volteren, Solaraze)?
- Have you taken antibiotics recently?
Why choose Mayo Clinic for IBD treatment
- Experience. Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose and treat hundreds of adults and children with inflammatory bowel disease. Mayo specializes in helping people with severe symptoms that haven't responded well to treatment in the past.
- Cutting-edge medicine. At Mayo Clinic, you have access to the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies. State-of-the-art imaging helps Mayo doctors diagnose and treat your IBD. Most colorectal surgery at Mayo uses minimally invasive techniques.
- Team approach. Treating IBD takes cooperation from specialists in digestive diseases (gastroenterology), surgery, pathology, radiology and nutrition care. Mayo specialists work together to ensure that you receive all the expertise you need.
- Comprehensive care. IBD can cause other health problems, such as osteoporosis or liver disease. Virtually all medical services you might need are available "under one roof" at Mayo Clinic.
- Time for you. Your Mayo Clinic doctor will take time to discuss options and answer your questions about IBD.
- New ideas. Mayo Clinic researchers are investigating new ways to diagnose and treat IBD, including clinical trials of new medications. You have access to the expertise of Mayo's clinician-researchers.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 1 for digestive disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for digestive disorders by U.S. News & World Report.
Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons who treat IBD
Doctors who treat IBD:
- Suryakanth Gurudu (Arizona)
- Russell Heigh (Arizona)
- Jonathan Leighton (Arizona)
- Shabana Pasha (Arizona)
- John Cangemi (Florida)
- Michael Picco (Florida)
- Edward Loftus (Minnesota)
- David Bruining (Minnesota)
- William Faubion (Minnesota)
- Sunanda Kane (Minnesota)
- Darrell Pardi (Minnesota)
- Kenneth Schroeder (Minnesota)
- William Tremaine (Minnesota)
- Rayna Grothe (pediatric IBD, Minnesota only)
- William Faubion (pediatric IBD, Minnesota only)
- Jeanne Tung (pediatric IBD, Minnesota only)
Colon and rectal surgeons who treat IBD:
- David Etzioni (Arizona)
- Jacques Heppell (Arizona)
- Tonia Young-Fadok (Arizona)
- Ron Landmann (Florida)
- Philip Metzger (Florida)
- Heidi Chua (Minnesota)
- Robert Cima (Minnesota)
- Richard Devine (Minnesota)
- Eric Dozois (Minnesota)
- David Larson (Minnesota)
- Heidi Nelson (Minnesota)
- John Pemberton (Minnesota)
- Bruce Wolff (Minnesota)
- Michael Ishitani (pediatric, Minnesota only)
- Christopher Moir (pediatric, Minnesota only)
- Dean Potter (pediatric, Minnesota only)
- Abdalla Zarroug ((pediatric, Minnesota only)
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