Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
Even for people who have been living with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) for years, the condition can present challenges at any time. New questions may arise about diagnosis, treatment, general well-being with EoE, or a number of other topics.
A good healthcare team will make time and space for you to ask the questions you need. But it can be overwhelming to receive lots of information at once. You can use the list of common questions below to help you get your thoughts organized.
It can also be helpful to bring a loved one to your appointment. Having another person listen and take notes can make a big difference in your understanding of the answers.
Questions about diagnosis
Because EoE is similar to other common health issues such as acid reflux (GERD), it can be hard for your doctor to make a quick diagnosis. You may need to see one or more specialists. It is also common to undergo procedures like an upper endoscopy and tissue biopsy to help with diagnosis. The steps to diagnosis and what your diagnosis means may not always be clear.1-3
- Are there specific things about my medical history or symptoms that make you think I have EoE versus another issue?
- Are there any blood tests or other tests that you will need for this diagnosis? What will the results mean?
- Do I need an upper endoscopy?
- How do I prepare for an upper endoscopy? Do I need to stop eating or drinking beforehand?
- What should I expect during an upper endoscopy? Will I be asleep?
- How often and when will you repeat an upper endoscopy?
- Do I need a biopsy?
- Do I need to see a specialist like an allergist if I have EoE?
Questions about treatment
There are several ways to treat EoE. One option is drugs that reduce stomach acid or target certain immune or allergic processes in the body.3-5
- What drugs will I need to take? How do they work?
- How do I take the drugs you are prescribing? Do I take them at a certain time of day? Do I take them with food?
- What side effects should I look out for?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- How will we know if treatment is working? Will my plan ever need to change?
- How can I get in contact with you quickly if I have concerns?
- Are there any surgeries or other procedures I might need?
Questions about diet
In addition to drugs, certain diet changes can help manage EoE symptoms. Some people may not need drugs at all. They will mostly focus on changing what they eat. While specific diets can be helpful, they are sometimes hard to plan for or stick to.3,5-7
- What foods might need to be removed from my diet?
- Is there a specific diet approach that you recommend?
- Should I work with a dietitian or nutritionist to make a diet plan?
- If I restrict my diet, will I still be getting all of the vitamins and nutrients I need?
- How can I find the foods I need to eat?
- How long will I need to stay on this diet plan?
- What will happen if I stop following this plan on my own?
Questions about living well with EoE
Having medical tests, making diet changes, and following treatment plans can be a lot to handle. But learning how to physically, mentally, and emotionally cope with EoE can help keep you feeling the best you can. Ask about ways to improve your overall well-being, and try to create a game plan in advance.3-5
- If I have immediate questions about my EoE, what is the best way to get in contact with my healthcare team?
- Can I exercise with EoE? Do I have any limitations?
- Who should I contact if I need emotional help?
- Should I reach out to a mental health expert like a counselor?
- What are the warning signs that I might not be coping well?
- Do you know of any in-person or online support groups for EoE?
- How should I expect my EoE to change over time?
Asking questions is a normal part of living with a chronic health issue and can lead to important conversations with your team. While this is not a complete list of all the questions you might have for your doctor, these examples are a good place to start.
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