If you suffer from very irritable bowels with blood in your stool, you may have Crohn's disease. To find out for sure, you will need to be examined by a gastrointestinal doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive ailments. Making the appointment is the first step. But once you have that appointment lined up, how do you prepare? Here are three things you can do before your appointment to ensure you get the most out of the experience.
Write down your symptoms
In order to give you the most accurate diagnosis, your doctor needs to know about all of your symptoms -- even those you think may not be related to your digestive ailment. When you're sitting on the table talking to your doctor, it's easy to forget about symptoms you don't experience as often or as severely. To ensure you're thorough, start making a list of symptoms a few weeks before your appointment.
You can keep this list in your phone or on a notepad. Whenever you think of something else that bothers you, add it to the list. You can also note, next to each symptom, how often you experience it. Assign symptoms that are always present an "A." But a "B" next to those you experience a few times per week, and a "C" next to those you only have occasionally.
Think about what you are and are not willing to try
The treatment for Crohn's disease can vary widely based on the severity of the case and also how aggressively you are willing to treat the condition. Before you meet with your doctor, put some thought into how far you are willing to go to seek comfort. Are you willing to take prescription medications? What about surgical procedures? Would you be willing to try natural remedies like acupuncture? If you put some thought into this before your appointment, you won't be as caught off guard if your doctor asks you what you're willing to try.
Keep a food diary
To help diagnose you, your doctor will probably want to know what you usually eat and what you've eaten in the days prior to your appointment. The easiest way to keep track of this is to keep a food diary for about a week. Write down what you eat, how much, and when. Also, record any symptoms you experience on the same timeline.
For more information, contact a Crohn's disease doctor.