Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your child's pediatrician or a family doctor. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of hormone-related conditions in children (pediatric endocrinologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your child's doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your child's diet.
- Write down your child's symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled 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 your child is taking.
- Make a list of family members' heights, especially if any of them are short as adults.
- Write down your family medical history, and note if any family members have had precocious puberty or endocrine problems.
- Bring a copy of your child's growth curve record if you are visiting a new doctor who doesn't have access to your child's medical record.
- Write down questions to ask your child's doctor.
Your time with the doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions in advance will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For precocious puberty, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my child's symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my child's symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests does my child need?
- Is this condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What's the best treatment?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- My child has other health conditions. How can we best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that my child needs to follow?
- Should my child see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment if you don't understand something.
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 any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask about:
- Your family medical history, in particular, family members' heights and any history of endocrine disorders or tumors
- The age at which puberty began for siblings and parents
- Family racial composition
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- Saenger P. Overview of precocious puberty. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 8, 2010.
- Precocious puberty. The Hormone Foundation. http://www.hormone.org/Resources/Growth/upload/bilingual_precocious_puberty.pdf . Accessed Nov. 6, 2010.
- Precocious puberty. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec19/ch282/ch282h.html. Accessed Nov. 7, 2010.
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