Start by making an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner. If your doctor suspects gastritis, you may be referred to a specialist in digestive disorders (gastroenterologist).
What you can do
- Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Consider taking someone along. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For gastritis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Could any of my medications be causing my condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should schedule a follow-up visit?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- What are your symptoms?
- How severe are your symptoms? Would you describe your stomach pain as mildly uncomfortable or burning?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Does anything, such as eating certain foods, seem to worsen your symptoms?
- Does anything, such as eating certain foods or taking antacids, seem to improve your symptoms?
- Do you experience any nausea or vomiting?
- Have you recently lost weight?
- How often do you take pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen?
- How often do you drink alcohol, and how much do you drink?
- How would you rate your stress level?
- Have you noticed any black stools or blood in your stool?
- Have you ever had an ulcer?
What you can do in the meantime
Before your appointment, avoid drinking alcohol and eating foods that seem to irritate your stomach, such as those that are spicy, acidic, fried or fatty. But talk to your doctor before stopping any prescription medications you're taking.