Make the Most of Your Appointment

Too often, women leave their doctors’ offices with unanswered questions. One study showed that patients only retain about 50 percent of what doctors discuss at their office visits. With the constraints managed healthcare imposes on doctors, they may not be able to give their patients all the time they would like.

As a result, maturing women may still have questions regarding important decisions about their health, such as whether to use hormone replacement therapy or which type of therapy is best. Today, drug companies offer us a cornucopia of options so that hormone replacement can be customized for each patient. Only when therapy is customized, can optimal results and patient satisfaction be achieved.

Make the Most of Your Appointment

Use the following tips to maximize your office visit with your healthcare provider, especially when discussing perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms.

make the most of your appointmentKeep track of associated complaints and symptoms prior to your visit. Jot down complaints as they arise and also make note about what was happening concurrently for a few weeks. For example, if you are having hot flushes, make note of when they occurred, what you were doing, how long they lasted and what made them better or worse. If you have noticed you have been gaining weight despite a seemingly unchanged diet and exercise regimen, then keep track of everything caloric you eat or drink, as well as when, how and how much you exercise.

By keeping a diary, you really become aware of what is happening with your body and then can present your complaints without forgetting something important, which may be crucial for your management. With the information obtained by diary keeping, you can fully inform your provider of your symptoms.

Before you visit your healthcare provider, go through your notes and summarize your findings. Your healthcare provider can use the summary, but it will be difficult if he or she has to interpret your daily notes.

Jot down questions as they arise. Remember, no question is too stupid or too insignificant to ask. When sitting across from healthcare providers, we can forget to ask something. We often remember later, when we have left the office. Avoid this problem by taking in a prepared list of questions.

Make sure you discuss possible risks, benefits and alternatives to any suggested therapies.  Before you leave the office and start any therapy, make sure you understand why you need the therapy, what the desired treatment goals are, and what the possible associated side affects are.
In order for a therapy to be beneficial, it must be taken conscientiously. If you understand why a certain therapy will help, then you are more likely to feel comfortable and to be more conscientious.

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