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First Appointment Advice

After a couple years of doctors appointments of being told “it’s probably just IBS”, I finally advocated for myself enough to where my PCP finally started asking some other questions which led to a different potential of IBD. Based on some of my own research, my symptoms are aligned with Crohn's. In a couple weeks I will be going into the GI for the first time for further evaluation.

any tips/advice for my first appointment? What should I expect? Anything I need to make sure to ask?
My advice would be to prepare the appointment with notes on all your intestinal symptoms and extra intestinal symptoms (fever, fatigue, muscular pain, etc…). Then ask questions and take notes of his answers if needed. Sometimes doctors give a lot of information and tips that may be hard to remember.

Also I think a good test to assess whether it’s ibs or ibd could be the fecal calprotectin. But to have a final diagnosis you’d probably need a proper exam like scans and colonscopy. Ask the GI about that if you think that would hel. Ask for a recommendation where to do those exams if they sre not available quickly in that same hospital.

hope that can help
Wish you good luck and health.
Ibd became a very manageable disease most of the times.
Let us know


Staff member

My advice would be to make a little diary of your symptoms, anything that seems to make them worse or better including foods and any OTC meds you might have tried, make sure you list all symptoms, even ones you might not think are related. Have a list of questions some good ones to start off are -

* What tests do you plan to do and how soon should I expect them to be completed?
* What would you recommend to manage symptoms while waiting for test results?
* Are there any symptoms to watch out for that indicate a trip to the ER is needed?
*If the current tests come back negative, do you have a plan to investigate other possible causes ( I wish I had asked this, would have saved me 5 years)
*How can I contact you if things get worse?
* Can we do bloods to look for nutrient deficiencies?

It can be difficult to make notes and listen to everything the doctor is saying at the same time so you may prefer to ask if you can record the conversation. You may have an abdominal exam at the appointment, they may also take bloods or send you to a lab to get some, and they may perform a rectal exam. They may also send you for X-rays although this isn't very common.