You're likely to first see your primary care doctor 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 process.
What you can do
Because appointments can be brief, 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. Your doctor's office might recommend that you stop using certain pain medications, such as narcotics, prior to coming for an appointment.
- 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 remember 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's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Could any of my medications be causing my signs and symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- Do I need treatment for my gastroparesis?
- What are my treatment options, and what are the potential side effects?
- Are there certain foods I can eat that are easier to digest?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- 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?
- Do I need a follow-up visit?
- I have diabetes. How might gastroparesis affect my diabetes management?
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:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Did your symptoms start suddenly, such as after an episode of food poisoning?
- What surgeries have you had?