Six tips when speaking to your doctor about the menopause•
Posted on April 25 2019
When you pay a visit to your doctor or GP, you will naturally want to make the most of your time with them and come away with a better understanding of what’s happening to your body as it goes through the menopause. As well as any necessary lifestyle changes, it’s a good idea to discuss which treatments and hormone therapies might be available that could help you.
But we know it’s not always easy to discuss personal issues, even with those closest to us, let alone a GP who you may never have met before. And quite often, we might forget to mention something in the short space of time we are allocated for an appointment. So here are some tips for getting the most out of your next visit:
Make a note of any important information: Your doctor will need to know if you follow any particular diet, how much physical activity you undertake, your medical, emotional and sexual history, any habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol or drug use, if you have any allergies to any prescription drugs, foods etc and whether you have undergoing any help or treatment from another health professional.
Make a list of all your past and current symptoms: Briefly give some detail about how each symptom in the menopause makes you feel, if you have noticed that the symptom is triggered by anything in particular, and any treatments you have taken, medical or holistic, as a form of relief and if it has helped.
Don’t be embarrassed, it’s all very normal: Your doctor will have seen a very large number of women who have similar concerns as yours, so make sure you address them all. No matter how sensitive the topic generally feels for you, your doctor will not be shocked in the slightest. Remember to take a loved one as extra support with you, especially if you feel confused or overwhelmed with the menopause or just to have a second pair of ears to absorb and recall the information you are given.
Question everything: It’s crucial that you come away with a crystal-clear understanding about what you’re being advised, particularly about prescription drugs or therapies and if there are any concerning side effects reported. If you need more insight or a different perspective on certain information that you’ve been given, you’re perfectly within your rights to ask your doctor for a second opinion, either from a different doctor in the same practice or elsewhere. If you have health insurance, just make sure a second opinion is covered in your policy.
Make sure you follow test or treatment protocols correctly: When it comes to being administered tests or treatments, make sure you follow the method exactly. For prescription drugs, you need to find out what happens if you were to miss a dose and if there are any lifestyle changes or other medications or supplements that you might need to avoid whilst taking it. For tests, be sure to know how to prepare for the test, any risks or side effects from the test and when/where you can access the results.
Be cautious of the internet: Looking for information on the internet can be complicated and overwhelming, especially when there is so much contradictory information online. This could make you necessarily worried about the menopause, especially if you are feeling particularly anxious about your symptoms. Seeing a doctor in person, to look over your personal records or to have a physical exam/check-up is a lot more sensible and practical.
If you’re worried about experiencing symptoms that you think might be the menopause, or just want to speak to someone for peace of mind, it’s always worth making the GP your first point of call. All doctors have a duty to listen to you and, let’s face it you know your body better than anyone else. We wish you all the best in finding the answers to your questions and getting the support you need to make the journey through menopause a little easier.
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