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Which doctor do I go to to get rid of worms?
July 20, 2008 4:06 AM   Subscribe

Which doctor do I go to to get rid of worms?

I just found out I've got worms. I do have health insurance, but don't have a local "Primary Care Provider" because I was too lazy (and healthy) to find one until now. Now my questions:

Should I go to a gastroenterologist or a "general practice" doctor? Knowing it's a GI disease points to the gastroenterologist, but it's something so trivial that it sounds like a waste to go to a specialist. What do people (I'm in the US) normally do?

Also, someone told me that to get a "primary care provider" you basically call one and schedule a consultation for "establishing primary care" (which consists of just talking to the guy about your history and getting some exams). Is it OK to have a consultation for this AND for my immediate problem, or should I schedule two different times?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
 
If by worms you mean pinworms (little worms that you can maybe see in your poop) then you don't need a specialist at all to deal with them. Your doc will confirm that you have them and then give you some medicine which will kill them dead. If you don't go to a doc, you'll wind up with recurring stomach cramps and you'll still have worms. It's a simple enough thing that yeah, you can go to the doc to set him/her up as your primary care physician and have them treat your worms at the same time. To figure out how to choose a PCP, I'd call your insurance company to make sure you're choosing one that's covered by whatever your plan. Once you have a PCP, they can let you know if you need to see a specialist for any reason.
posted by jessamyn at 4:09 AM on July 20, 2008


If it's just worms you might be able to go to a chemist, and avoid seeing a doctor at all.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:38 AM on July 20, 2008


chemist = pharmacy, American English
posted by k8t at 4:52 AM on July 20, 2008


seconding GP. They'll probably say, "So, you have a puppy/been to <country>?" and send you off to get something like piperazine citrate. It's pretty common.
posted by scruss at 4:52 AM on July 20, 2008


Here's a list of over-the-counter treatments.

Get a PCP tho.
posted by k8t at 4:54 AM on July 20, 2008


You may be able to go to any urgent care facility and get a prescription for mebendazole. You get two pills, and they're about 10.00 apiece. You take one and then a week later you take the other one. What happens to you in the meantime, I don't know.
posted by pieoverdone at 5:24 AM on July 20, 2008


You can just go to a regular doctor -- you do not need a specialist. You will probably be prescribed mebendazole, because it is a broad spectrum anti-wormer that kills lots of varieties and the side effects are not usually too bad.

You can combine this with getting a primary care doctor, or just go to to a walk-in clinic, if that is faster. They may want to do a fecal sample to confirm the worm infestation, or they may take your word for it and just give you the worming medicine.

The book Where There Is No Doctor (free download) has a really good section on worms and how to get rid of them, for your wormy reading pleasure.
posted by Forktine at 6:14 AM on July 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Check your insurance plan. If it's an HMO, they may have assigned you a primary care contact, and you wouldn't be able to see a specialist without seeing your GP first anyway.

I think very few people do a consultation visit first, unless you have a chronic disease that needs regular management. Just know that the first visit will be longer because you'll have to fill out so much paperwork and take time to discuss family history.
posted by saffry at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2008


Go to a primary care. Call your insurance and tell them you need to get to one ASAP. They should be understanding, and use the word "urgent" to get them moving. This is something a general practioner can handle. A gastroenterologist will take too long to get into, and then wonder why you are bothering them instead of a GP.
posted by 6:1 at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2008


Definitely call the insurance first, especially if you have an HMO. It really sucks to be stuck with hundreds of dollars in medical bills just because the visit wasn't "preapproved"
posted by meta_eli at 11:09 AM on July 20, 2008


Call the insurance company and ask about what your benefits are, and most of the insurance companies use the same deductible for an urgent care center that they do for a doctor's visit. Ask them if you can go to one without a referral from a your PCP (since you don't have one). You can ask who's on the list at the same time, or have them fax you the list, or most of them have the list posted on the web site anyway. Actually, it's likely you can find all this on the web site, except if you talk to a person you'll have more confidence in the answers.
The thing is, if you make an appointment, it's going to take you a while to get in and therefore to get treatment started. You seem to handling this a whole lot better than I would. If it's possible to get right into urgent care, you could get started today on killing the things.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 1:25 PM on July 20, 2008


I think very few people do a consultation visit first, unless you have a chronic disease that needs regular management. Just know that the first visit will be longer because you'll have to fill out so much paperwork and take time to discuss family history.

Even if you don't have a chronic condition, it serves as a good baseline for your further care. Your doctor will know what's "normal" and what's not. They will screen you for some asymptomatic but relatively common problems.

Also, if you're an "established patient" you can usually call and get an emergency appointment, or get a prescription via phone (because they already have your medical history), or get a referral to another doctor without making an appointment.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:57 PM on July 20, 2008


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