In order to help prepare you for a discussion with your doctor about your symptoms of indigestion or heartburn, here are some questions that your doctor might ask you. The better prepared you are, the better your doctor can tailor the treatment plan to you. Try having answers to these questions prepared ahead of time. It may be as simple as writing down the questions and your responses on a piece of paper or on your smartphone that you can show to your doctor at your appointment. You can even print off this page and use it as a template.
"Do you have difficulty or a dislike for swallowing pills?"
The treatment your doctor offers will only work to relieve your symptoms if it is taken as prescribed. Your doctor would like to prescribe a therapy that you will actually be able to take. So your doctor may ask if you have trouble swallowing tablets. Some therapies may involve taking fewer tablets than others and some medications may be available in dosage forms other than tablets that may be easier to take.
"Are you taking any prescription or over-the-counter painkillers on a regular basis? If yes, which one(s)?"
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can irritate the stomach lining and interfere with the stomach's natural protective factors. This can lead to indigestion and sometimes ulcers. So if your doctor is assessing your symptoms of indigestion, he or she will request this information. Some of these medications are available without a prescription and some require a prescription. They are usually taken for pain relief.
"Do you sometimes forget to take your medication(s) as prescribed by your doctor?"
Many of the treatments prescribed for various conditions involving indigestion require that one or more medications be taken for several weeks or months. It will be important that you take the medication as prescribed so that it will work properly. So your doctor may wish to assess if you sometimes forget to take your medications. You and your doctor can then work together to find ways to make it easier to remember your medication.
"Would you be willing to make some lifestyle changes to help with your symptoms?"
Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can help manage your symptoms. Lifestyle changes that may help include:
- avoiding foods that make your symptoms worse
- decreasing the amount of fat in your diet
- eating smaller meals
- avoiding clothes that fit tightly around the waist
- raising the head of your bed
- not lying down after a meal
- quitting smoking
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