53 Questions to Ask a Gastroenterologist

A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive tract. These disorders can include everything from GERD and celiac disease to irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may be indicative of a digestive disorder, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. But what should you expect during this appointment? What questions should you ask?

To put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask your gastroenterologist at your next appointment.

53 Questions you can ask a gastroenterologist:

  1. What experience do you have treating patients with my condition?
  2. What are the possible causes of my symptoms?
  3. What diagnostic tests will you need to perform?
  4. What are the risks and side effects associated with the tests?
  5. How effective are the treatments you’re recommending?
  6. What are the risks and side effects of the treatments?
  7. Are there any alternative treatments available?
  8. What can I do at home to ease my symptoms?
  9. Can my diet or lifestyle choices impact my condition?
  10. Will I need to take medication for the rest of my life?
  11. Can my condition be cured?
  12. How will my condition progress if left untreated?
  13. Is there anything I can do to prevent flare-ups or complications?
  14. Do you have experience treating children?
  15. Do you offer endoscopies or colonoscopies on-site?
  16. Are your office hours convenient for me?
  17. Do you accept my insurance plan?
  18. What is your cancellation policy if I need to reschedule an appointment?
  19. How can I reach you outside of normal office hours if I have an urgent question or concern?
  20. What tests do you recommend I undergo?
  21. How long will it take to get results back from these tests?
  22. How do we know if I have a food intolerance or allergy?
  23. What are the most common side effects of the medications you’re prescribing me?
  24. Will I need to make any changes to my diet?
  25. What can I do to manage stress, which seems to make my symptoms worse?
  26. Are there any home remedies or over-the-counter treatments you recommend I try?
  27. When can I expect my symptoms to improve?
  28. If my symptoms don’t improve, what’s the next course of action?
  29. Why did you choose this particular course of treatment for me?
  30. What are the risks and potential complications associated with this course of treatment?
  31. Am I at risk for any other digestive disorders based on my family history or lifestyle factors?
  32. Can you refer me to a registered dietitian who can help me make the necessary changes to my diet?
  33. Can you refer me to a mental health professional who can help me deal with stress management?
  34. How often will I need follow-up appointments? And for how long will I need them?
  35. Will I need any additional testing down the road, such as colonoscopies or endoscopies? If so, how often will these be needed?
  36. Is there anything else I can do on my own to prevent further Digestive issues in the future?
  37. Are my symptoms going to get worse over time?
  38. What should I do if I have an attack or flare-up outside of normal office hours?
  39. What are your credentials?
  40. What is your approach to treatment?
  41. What are the long-term effects of the condition?
  42. How will we manage my condition if it’s chronic?
  43. What can I do at home to ease my symptoms?
  44. What should I do if my symptoms get worse?
  45. What are the most common treatments for my condition? 
  46. Are there any new or emerging treatments for my condition that I should be aware of? 
  47. How long will it take for me to see the results of the treatment? 
  48. Are there any over-the-counter or prescription medications I should avoid if I have this condition? 
  49. Are there any foods or drinks I should avoid if I have this condition? 
  50. How long can I expect to live with this condition? 
  51. What are the chances that this condition will improve or worsen over time? 
  52. Is there anything else I should be doing to take care of myself if I have this condition? 
  53. How do I make an appointment to see you?

Frequently Asked Questions

What organs does a gastroenterologist treat?

A gastroenterologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating organs of the digestive system, including the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. They can diagnose and treat problems such as acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, and pancreatitis.

Can a gastroenterologist do a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows a gastroenterologist to examine the entire colon. It involves inserting a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope into the rectum.

Why would a doctor refer you to a gastroenterologist?

A doctor might refer you to a gastroenterologist if he or she suspects you have a gastrointestinal issue, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, or stomach cancer. A gastroenterologist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating problems with the digestive system.

When should a person see a gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist should be seen if someone is having problems with their digestive system. This can be anything from diarrhea to constipation to vomiting and nausea. If these problems persist for a long period of time, it is best to see a specialist who can get to the root of the problem.


Asking questions is an important part of taking charge of your health – so don’t be afraid or ashamed of it! By asking your gastroenterologist these questions, you’ll be well on your way to better understanding your condition and taking steps to alleviate uncomfortable and potentially debilitating symptoms.

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