Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Gallstones
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your physician or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with gallstones. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your healthcare Provider
About the Disease
- Why did I come down with this problem?
- Is there any genetic influence that I should be aware of?
- Based on my symptoms, what other diseases could cause the same symptoms?
- How do you make the diagnosis?
About Treatment Options
- What are the pros and cons of surgery? Medications?
- What type of surgical procedures are appropriate for me?
- How long does it take for the medication to work?
- Will I continue to be in pain even after I start the medication?
- How long will I be out of work if I have surgery?
- What are the chances of the gallstones recurring after surgery?
- What are the chances of the gallstones recurring if I take medications?
- How long before I feel better if I use the other treatments?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Should I change my diet? If so, how?
- Can I ever eat fatty goods again?
- Will changing my diet reduce my risk of getting gallstones again after they’re treated?
- Can you recommend a registered dietitian (RD) to help me with dietary changes?
- How can I lose weight safely?
- What exercises should I do?
- Are there any alternative treatments I can try?
American College of Surgeons website. Available at: www.facs.org/.
American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: www.acg.gi.org.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ .
Last reviewed November 2008 by ]]>Daus Mahnke, MD]]>
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