Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to come prepared.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including the frequency of your gas and the intensity of your abdominal pain.
- Write down your key medical information, including any other health problems and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Write down your questions for the doctor.
For gas and gas pains, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Do I need any tests?
- What treatments or home remedies might help me feel better?
- Should I limit or avoid certain foods or drinks?
- Are there any other lifestyle changes that could help prevent gas pains?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely have questions for you, too. He or she may ask:
- How long have you noticed an increase in gas or gas pains?
- How many times do you pass gas each day?
- Does eating certain foods seem to trigger your symptoms?
- Have you added any new foods or drinks to your diet recently?
- Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or another intestinal condition?
- Are you currently taking any antibiotics or other medications?
- Do you have nausea or vomiting with your gas pains?
- Do you frequently chew gum, suck on candies or drink through a straw?
- Do you have gas when you drink milk or milk products?
What you can do in the meantime
Before your appointment, keep a journal of the food and beverages you eat, how many times a day you pass gas, and any other symptoms you experience. Bring the journal to your appointment. It can help your doctor determine whether there's a connection between your gas or gas pains and your diet.
- Gas in the digestive tract. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gas. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Living with gas in the digestive tract. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/gas-in-the-digestive-tract. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Gas-related complaints. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec02/ch008/ch008d.html . Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Abraczinskas D, et al. Intestinal gas and bloating. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. March 15, 2011.