Not sure how to talk about your reproductive health with your doctor?
Rest easy; you’re not the only one. Earlier this year LOLA surveyed nearly 3,000 community members for Women’s Health Week, to find out whether women felt in control of their reproductive health. The majority said no, and one of the most common questions we received was “What should I do to feel more prepared and less anxious before my doctor appointment?
Good communication is key to getting the most out of your reproductive health-related doctor visits. Yet for so many of us, it’s speaking up is hard to do. What questions should we ask? How do we approach an uncomfortable topic? How do we know if something is off, and when do we tell our doctor? Here are some tips to get you started.
Tips for talking about your reproductive health with your doctor.
Plan ahead. Make sure to come prepared with a list of questions you want your healthcare provider to address, and a list of any medications or dietary supplements you’re currently taking. Be ready to articulate any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing.
Be honest. Remember, healthcare practitioners are there to help, not to judge. Be honest with your doctor and answer all of their questions truthfully (now is not the time to lie about your sexual activity). If your on birth control and it’s not working for you, speak up. Let your provider know if you’ve experienced any physical pain, emotional changes, or strange odors in the last year. If you don’t fully understand something they tell you, ask for clarification.
Circle back. Still have questions? The best gynecologists and women’s health practitioners will encourage you to follow up after your appointment. If you had a test done and don’t fully understand the results or next steps, don’t be afraid to call your doctor and ask for a more detailed explanation.
Keep looking until you find the right fit. Finding a great women’s health care practitioner can be a bit like dating. If the relationship doesn’t feel right, keep looking until you find one that is. It’s worth the extra effort to find a doctor who makes you feel comfortable and heard.