Tips on Finding a Doctor
Whether your healthcare provider is a family doctor or a specialist (like a gastroenterologist), there are certain qualities to look for to help you get the care you need for your constipation.
Here is a checklist of questions to consider:
- Is your healthcare provider sympathetic? Does he or she listen carefully as you explain your symptoms? Does he or she understand the real impact of constipation on your life? If you feel your provider thinks your symptoms are trivial or “all in your head,” it’s time to move on.
- Does your healthcare provider spend the time needed to explain and discuss your constipation?
- Does your healthcare provider order many tests, but fail to explain the reason for them and the meaning of their results?
- Does your provider regularly order medicines or diets without explanation of their risks and benefits?
- Are you able to get an appointment within a reasonable time?
- Is your healthcare provider usually available, or do you often see a stand-in who is unfamiliar with your case?
- Does your healthcare provider seem knowledgeable about your illness, yet willing to seek a specialist’s advice for difficult issues?
- Does your healthcare provider use a patient portal that allows you to communicate effectively about your care?
Perhaps most importantly, does the doctor inspire your confidence? Are you able to establish a good relationship? Constipation can be a long-term condition that will likely take twists and turns over time. You will be best served by a doctor who is your partner through this.
No healthcare provider is perfect, but the answers to the above questions should help you decide. Remember, you are not married to your doctor. It is your right to find a new one and have your complete medical record transferred. On the other hand, too many changes can work against you.
Learn more about how to Advocate for your care in the Providers office by watching IFFGD’s Free Virtual Advocacy Event now available on IFFGD’s Youtube Channel
Adapted from IFFGD publication: I Have a Gut Problem: Which Doctor Should I See? By W. Grant Thompson, MD, FRCP(C), Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Looking for a Provider? Helpful links
IFFGD’s Dietitians Listing– Compiled and maintained by IFFGD
Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist – Compiled and maintained by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
AGA GI Locator Service – Compiled and maintained by American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
Find a Gastroenterologist – Compiled and maintained by American College of Gastroenterology (ACG)
A Registry of GI Motility Laboratories for Patient Evaluation – Compiled and maintained by The American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS)