Advice for adults
Gastroparesis can disrupt daily activities, including work.
People with gastroparesis are often concerned about whether to disclose the condition to their employer and colleagues, and how to manage the workload when they are experiencing gastroparesis-related absences.
While gastroparesis can disrupt your work, it is not uncommon for people with gastroparesis to lead successful careers. It is important to remember that finding the best treatment options for you might take time, and is likely to involve considerable communication with your treatment team.
Communicating with your healthcare team
Gastroparesis is a complex condition with a variety of symptoms and treatments. To help your healthcare team better understand your experience of gastroparesis, it can be helpful to keep a diary of your condition. This might include a record of your symptoms, foods or drinks consumed, medications taken, and notes on any other health conditions. Keeping a diary can help to establish patterns in your symptoms.
It can be a good idea to compile a list of questions that you have about gastroparesis and discuss these with your doctor. Improving your understanding of gastroparesis can be empowering, and can help dispel any myths or assumptions about the condition. Some things you might want to discuss:
- Can I be ‘cured’? Is effective management possible?
- How much can I rely on my medications? Can I use them ‘too much’?
- Can I drink alcohol?
- What foods/drinks should I be avoiding?
- Are there any ‘abnormal’ symptoms that are cause for alarm?
It is not uncommon to feel intimidated and rushed when speaking with your treatment team. However, doctors understand that receiving a diagnosis can be a confronting and overwhelming process, so please don’t hesitate or feel bad about raising any questions with your doctor.
It can be helpful to take someone you trust with you to your appointment. They can help you process and reflect on the information you receive from your doctor. Alternatively, you can take notes, record the session (with permission), or ask your doctor to provide you with key information or a copy of the letter that they are writing to your referring doctor.
In the course of treating your gastroparesis, you may need to try different treatments (e.g. diet, medications) to best manage symptoms. If you are unsure or uncomfortable about a treatment change then raise this with your doctor. It is important that you feel comfortable with your treatment. You can also consider getting a second opinion. Don’t worry about offending your doctor—your doctor understands that you need to feel confident in your treatment decisions. It is also important that you don’t feel rushed into making any non-urgent treatment decisions. It is okay to ask your doctor for time to decide.
Gastroparesis is associated with psychological distress including anxiety and depression. It is normal and expected to feel some stress due to a health problem, but it is also important to acknowledge when you are not sufficiently coping. Stress can develop into a significant mental health issue if left unchecked. Take regular note of how you are feeling and consider raising this issue with your doctor if needed. They can suggest treatments and make referrals to mental health professionals where appropriate.
Your medical records and healthcare rights
You have many rights as a patient of the Australian healthcare system. For further information you can view the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights at:
The charter includes rights relating to access, safety, respect, communication, participation, and privacy:
- All patients have a right to healthcare
- All patients will have a right to receive safe and high-quality care
- All patients will have a right to be shown respect, dignity and consideration
- All patients will have a right to be informed about services, treatment options and costs clearly and openly
- All patients will have a right to be included in decisions and choices about their care
- All patients will have a right to privacy and confidentiality of their personal information
If you wish to examine your health records or talk to someone about them, contact your healthcare team and they can arrange for this. For further information on accessing your records, visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC): https://www.oaic.gov.au/