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Old 07-16-2005, 07:45 AM   #1
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Stressed About First Visit to Gastroenterologist

I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist coming up. I have never been to one before and I am anxious not knowing what to expect. Can someone tell me what the "normal" course of action is for a new patient? I suppose it depends on the symptoms, so here goes...

The symptoms all started in early April, after I took Levaquin for an upper respiratory infection. It really messed up my digestive system. My stomach gets upset with some pain and a lot of gas pressure below my rib cage. My chest then gets tight and congested and I belch a lot. If I eat too much (or heavy food, red meat is out) it just lays there and will not digest. In that case I have a lot more pain and I usually end up vomiting to relieve the pressure. Fortunately, this has only happened a few times, as I am now very careful what and how much I eat. I also have diarrhea for about one week a month. This has gotten progressively worst. My GP gave me Protonix and and I have been taking it for the last month. It seemed to help at first but is less effective now.

Anyone have experiences with a gastroenterologist they can share to help relieve some of my stress? Thanks.

 
Old 07-16-2005, 08:54 AM   #2
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Re: Stressed About First Visit to Gastroenterologist

The first visit to the gastroenterolgist is much like visiting your regular doctor. They weigh you, take blood pressure, etc. The doctor comes in and gets a history of your pain, and examines the area where the pain is located.
I didn't even have to remove my shirt. After the evaluation, you discuss options, tests, medications. Sounds like you have both upper and lower intestinal pain. Depending on your age, they would probably recommend an endoscopy, (upper scope), and a colonoscopy (lower scope). They may want to do an abdominal ultrasound. Truthfully, it was no big deal. That was the end of the visit. They scheduled both the scopes and the ultrasound for later visits. During the ultrasound you just lay on a table and they move the little gadget around your belly, ribs, gallbladder, etc. I had both the scopes, also not a big deal. They put in an IV, roll you into the room, get you at ease, and start injecting the drug they will use. I don't remember anything after that. The nurse comes into recovery after a while and wakes you up. I didn't even see the scopes, and I was out before they snaked the scope down my throat. No choking, no gagging. They did several biopsies of my stomach, and again I had no knowledge of that. No problems, no pain after the tests. Depending on what they find during the tests, they will decide on your treatment, usually at a follow-up visit. The worst part was the anxiety I dealt with before the tests, all for nothing!
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Old 07-16-2005, 09:51 AM   #3
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Re: Stressed About First Visit to Gastroenterologist

Thanks for the comments, gingertea. I guess the worst part for me is always anxiety caused by the unknown. What I have heard of the tests agree with what you said, so I am not overly worried about the testing, just the results. Will they be able to give me any results on the day of the tests or do you have to wait a while for the results? I don't do well waiting for test results.

 
Old 07-16-2005, 11:58 AM   #4
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Re: Stressed About First Visit to Gastroenterologist

Hi TLB50,

They will take pictures while they are in there doing the scopes (upper and/or lower). My gastro gives me a folder with instructions, pictures and information (on whatever is wrong with me). If nothing is wrong, they may still give you pics of your insides - I do not really know for sure. Make sure if/when you have your endo and colonoscopy, that you have a reliable person with you, so they can ask ?s (you will be a little out of it and they need to drive you home).

You will find out some things that same day, but if they do any biopsies, you will not know for a few weeks.

Try not to worry, they can treat most things - I think it is better to know what is wrong than to worry and guess!

Take care. Wannabe

 
Old 07-16-2005, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: Stressed About First Visit to Gastroenterologist

After both scopes I was given the preliminary findings, along with an instruction sheet of do's and don'ts. The biopsy does take at least a week,
because it has to be sent to a lab to be read. When my husband had a colonoscopy, the doctor removed a polyp, and told him it looked fine, but he was sending it in to be sure. It was fine and they called a few days later to confirm it.
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