Doctor’s appointments are few and far between at times, even though we might feel like we spend our lives at the doctor’s office! A mixture of brain fog and a sudden bombardment of information might mean we leave without the feeling of accomplishment we had hoped to achieve.
To help you make the most of the short time you are with your doctor, here are five ways in which you can prepare for an appointment.
1. Keep a diary or notes about your pain and symptoms
Keeping a pain diary is a really useful way of tracking your symptoms. It’s also a great way to show your doctor how your pain differs throughout the month and if it correlates with anything, such as exertion, diet or your period. This can be especially helpful when you have symptoms that you’re not sure have anything to do with your endometriosis. For example, shoulder pain (which could indicate diaphragmatic endometriosis) isn’t something you would usually think relates to endometriosis because of its distance from the abdomen, where most endometriosis symptoms occur. But, if it correlates with your period, there is a good chance that it might be related to your endometriosis. You can keep some simple notes, keep a diary specifically for your health, or track your pain using a specialized app on your phone.
2. Plan what you want to discuss
I always find that doctor’s appointments can be a bit rushed and everything you had planned to discuss just goes straight out the door. The best way to get around this is to plan what you want to say. Try writing your points down. It doesn’t need to be an essay, just a few bullet points that you can glance at quickly. There is nothing worse than leaving an appointment and then remembering something you should have mentioned.
3. Take any medication with you
Doctors will always ask what medication you are currently taking. This is to check if that’s the best option for you or to see if it can be combined with new treatment options. It’s best to take all of your medications with you, but you could instead write down the names and dosages of the medications.
4. Take any recent hospital notes or letters with you
Doctors should have all of your (relevant) medical history on hand in a file at your appointment. But I’ve attended appointments where my last set of notes haven’t been put into my file and then both the doctor and I have had to try to recall exactly what was discussed. I now take all medical notes with me so that I have all the information should I need it.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Doctors will give you a lot of information in a very short span of time. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask questions while you are there. What’s the plan for treatments or surgeries? What side effects will a treatment cause? Will this treatment interfere with any other health conditions you might have? Ask questions about fertility, if that is on your mind. The main thing to remember is to not feel afraid or embarrassed to ask. Your doctors are there to help you, so please don’t leave their offices confused.
You can follow more of my journey over at www.emlwy.com.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.