Here are some tips on how to talk to your gynecologist to get the most out of your appointment so you come away feeling armed with knowledge.
Show up on time, then make the most of itHave you noticed that doctors seem to be spending less time with their patients lately? You’re not wrong. Research
Start tracking your menopause symptoms
Once you schedule your next doctor’s appointment, start keeping a diary of how you feel each day. TBH, this is a good practice even when you’re not meeting with your doctor: Your brain might not be as sharp as usual when your hormones are all over the place, so tracking your moods and symptoms can help you notice patterns you otherwise wouldn’t. Your healthcare provider can help you grasp what’s normal, what isn’t, and how to get the bothersome manifestations of menopause under control.
Write down your habits and routines, too
Your symptoms aren’t the only thing you should be writing down. It’s also a good idea to track other habits, like diet, sleep, sex, alcohol use, and exercise. Don’t forget to write down the names of your medications and supplements, or better yet, bring them along. Having all this context, you and your provider can then make connections between your routines and your (peri)menopause symptoms — and, hopefully, find simple ways to get you feeling better ASAP.
Make a list of questions you want to ask
If you’re feeling rushed (or fatigued, or anxious, or hot) during an appointment, you might not remember to ask about your dry vagina or brain fog. Take the time before you see your doctor to write down all the questions you have about your peri/menopause experience. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas to jog your brain:Are my symptoms normal, or could something else be causing them?
What can I do at home to treat my symptoms?
What treatments or medications are available if my symptoms don’t go away or get worse?
What side effects or risks should I be aware of if I need treatment for my symptoms?
What other screenings or tests unrelated to menopause might I need?
Whether you whip out your smartphone or bring along a pen and a notebook, don’t forget to take detailed notes during your conversation. Your doc should give you a printout summary of your appointment (or post it online in your clinic’s portal), but it’s a good idea to write down any suggestions or advice you glean.
Knowledge is power, after all!
Remind yourself vulnerability is good — and so is asking for what you need
The more you open up about your symptoms and the trouble they’re causing, the better your provider can help you troubleshoot. (Sidenote: If any clinician makes you feel dismissed or rolls their eyes at your questions, it’s probably time to find a new one.)