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Talking to Your Doctor About Gallstones

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with gallstones. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, 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 doctor:

  • 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.
  • Do not 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 Doctor

About the Disease

  • Why do I have this condition?
  • 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? Medicines?
  • 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 medicine?
  • 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 medicines?
  • 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 food again?
  • Will changing my diet reduce my risk of getting gallstones again after they have been 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?
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References:

Gallstones. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114033/Gallstones. Updated July 22, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated May 2014. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 9/17/2014

 

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