Gastrointestinal history taking requires a systematic approach to ensure you don’t miss anything important. This guide structures the history in parallel with the structure of the GI system, beginning at the mouth and working downwards. Over time you will stop using this approach and only ask a smaller more focused subset of these questions which are relevant to the given presenting complaint, but it takes time to become competent at this, so this is a good starting point.
Odynophagia – pain on swallowing – oesophageal candidiasis
Progressive dysphagia (difficulty swallowing solids at first, then eventually difficulty with liquids) suggests the presence of a malignant stricture. Especially in elderly patients with associated weight loss and iron deficiency anaemia.
Nausea and vomiting
Frequency and volume – high frequency and volume increases risk of dehydration