You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have signs and symptoms of gastroparesis. If your doctor suspects you may have gastroparesis, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases (gastroenterologist). You may also be referred to a dietitian who can help you choose foods that are easier to digest.
What you can do
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. To prepare, try to:
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any 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 any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For gastroparesis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my gastroparesis?
- Could any of my medications be causing my signs and symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my gastroparesis likely temporary or chronic?
- Do I need treatment for my gastroparesis?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the potential side effects of each treatment option?
- Are there certain foods I can eat that are easier to digest?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a dietitian?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
Jan. 04, 2012
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Gastroparesis. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gastroparesis/index.aspx. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Fox J, et al. Gastroparesis. American College of Gastroenterology. http://www.acg.gi.org/patients/gihealth/gastroparesis.asp. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Tang DM, et al. Gastroparesis: Approach, diagnostic evaluation and management. Disease-a-Month. 2011:57:74.
- Nutrition therapy for gastroparesis. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/index.cfm. Accessed Oct. 25, 2011.