Last updated Aug. 30, 2018
Ulcerative colitis is one of the conditions that can make you book an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
If you are wondering what gastroenterologist doctors do, these specialist doctors are trained to handle any condition or disorder of the digestive system and when you have symptoms of ulcerative colitis or have been previously diagnosed with the condition, you must have to visit them.
It is normal that you may have just a short period of time with a gastroenterologist so you need to make every moment count. There are a lot of things you have to do prior to your appointment to make this happen.
When the date of your appointment approaches you to need to prepare adequately.
Remember you need to talk about your symptoms and ask questions the right way so having a clear action plan can help make things smooth.
Here, we will summarise six things you must do in order to get the best out of your ulcerative colitis appointment.
The success of your working relationship with a doctor will depend to a great extent on how you connect.
You really need to feel comfortable around your gastroenterologist in order to have the sort of discussion that will make him/her understand your condition better and offer the best medical care.
If you already have a gastroenterologist you are working with then that is great news, especially if you like him/her.
If there is any form of friction in your relationship with your doctor, do not be afraid to look for someone else.
It is true that it takes time to build a relationship but you don’t have to stick with a doctor that you know you may not be completely honest with.
Remember, it is your health that is on the line so there is absolutely no reason why you should be sentimental about your choices. While looking for a new doctor, ensure that you choose someone you like and feel you can be completely open to.
An open discussion about your health will always result in better treatment as your doctor will understand your condition better and the sort of treatment plan that will work.
When you have an appointment with a gastroenterologist it is important that you call ahead to know if there are some things you need to do before coming to the hospital or clinic.
If there are some tests you need to undergo, for instance, it is very likely that you may need to follow some dietary guidelines. There are some restrictions you may have to observe in order to make the procedure smooth.
The information you can get by calling ahead will put you in a better position to arrive for your appointment in the right shape and condition.
Asides from preparing your body for your appointment with a gastroenterologist, you may also need to call ahead to know about things you need to come with for your appointment.
You may be required to come with a referral letter from a general practitioner, insurance forms or any such information. It may also be recommended that a friend or family member come with you.
It is important to call a few days to your appointment to know how best to prepare.
Before going for your ulcerative colitis appointment, you need to get ready to talk. The kind of talk we mean is not just the casual talk you engage in; you need to be ready to talk about your symptoms as openly as possible.
It is understandable that it can be tough or embarrassing to talk about such things as diarrhea, bloody stool or frequent and urgent bowel movement.
It is your health that is on the line, however, so you need to be ready to talk about these things as explicitly as possible. You don’t need to be shy about any of the symptoms you are experiencing.
It is only when you are completely open to your doctor that he/she will understand the severity of your condition and how best to respond to it.
One of the biggest disadvantages of not being completely open with your doctor is that it can lead to misdiagnosis.
When you hide some symptoms or fail to describe them as they truly are, your gastroenterologist may assume that you are in remission meanwhile you have an active disease. Get ready to talk as openly as necessary.
When you are speaking with your gastroenterologist, there are possibilities that you may forget to mention some of your symptoms or correctly describe their patterns.
This is why it is considered necessary that you keep a log of these symptoms and take it along when going for your appointment. Your doctor is definitely going to ask you to get specific about your symptoms and this is the point your log can be helpful.
This also means you have to keep track of every single symptom ahead of time no matter how small or embarrassing.
Provide details about their severity and make sure you record when they occur, how long they last, and whether they have been experienced before or are new symptoms. You can do this with a notebook or your smartphone.
When you are dealing with ulcerative colitis, the things you may want to take note of will include frequency of bowel movement, consistency and presence of mucus, amount of bleeding, abdominal pain and severity, joint pain, fever or chills, nausea or vomiting, anxiety, weight loss, mouth sores, skin changes, and any other symptoms you experience.
If there is any other information you feel your doctor may need to understand, especially your attitude to the current treatment plan, you can also note it in order not to forget.
Your appointment with your doctor should always be about letting him know how your health is faring and getting more information to help you get free from your ailment. This means there will have to be lots of asking and answering questions.
To be able to ask the relevant questions when you are with the doctor, it may be necessary that you write them down in your notebook or note app in your smartphone before your appointment.
This will help you not to forget anything you need to be clarified about.
It is necessary that you ask questions about your symptoms, the possible causes, how common the symptom is, the need for special tests, possible side effects of your medications, alternative treatment plans, things you may have to avoid, and other such questions that will help you combat the condition.
Your doctor will also have a lot of questions for you. The note you take prior to your appointment will be so important at this point.
You have to be ready to answer the questions as clearly as possible so that your doctor will know how you are faring and whether there is a need to continue with the treatment plan or make some adjustment.
There are instances you may need to see your gastroenterologist before your next scheduled visit.
Do not be reluctant when you feel there is a need to contact your doctor. If you experience new or changing symptoms that are serious, for instance, you really need to reach out to your doctor.
When you are having problems with your medications, you may also want to reach out to your doctor too. Any such situations may make your doctor want to see you ahead of time.
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