At the end of your appointment, make sure you are clear about when you should return, how long you can expect to recover, what factors to look for or under what circumstances to return sooner, how to wait for test results, and how long to continue treatment. Use your doctor’s appointment waiting time to your advantage by thinking about when and what factors aggravate your symptoms, or what you’ve already experienced that has improved your problem. Most doctor’s appointments last only 10 minutes. That’s not enough time to say all the things you want to say and ask, and for the doctor to explain what’s going on and answer all your questions. If you feel you need more than 10 minutes, you can ask for a double consultation, but I encourage you to do this only when necessary. As I’ve said before, I wish all appointments were done on a double entry basis, but unfortunately we don’t have enough time for that, and if everyone was recorded on a double entry basis, the system would collapse. Many studies have shown that we only remember a small fraction of the information we are given when we go to the doctor. For example, if you have a problem related to gut health, the registrar knows which doctor is most interested in that area of medicine. I was so sure that “her” problem was not cancer related that I could have visited “her” three more times without mentioning the “C” word, and “she” would still be worried. For bowel problems, it can be very helpful to keep a diary of symptoms and foods for a few weeks before the doctor’s visit. He or “she” can take notes ahead of time, and even if you don’t, you’ll remember the parts of the appointment that the patient may not know. Most doctor’s offices offer a double consultation for more complicated problems. Dawn Harper talks about how to get the most out of a doctor’s visit, especially for bowel problems. With such a short consultation, it’s easy to forget what you have to say. If you write down what you want to ask, you can be sure you won’t forget anything. The more information you give your doctor, the easier it will be for “him” or “her” to make a diagnosis and select a treatment. Disclaimer: The information on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis, treatment or medical purposes.