Don’t skip checkups
Prevention is key and the best thing you can do is catch problems early. Depending on your age and risk factors, you may need regular mammograms, pap smears and screenings to make sure everything is in working order. Dental and vision care are also important! Do your best to stick to those checkup appointments so your small health concerns don’t become big problems.
Find a professional that listens
More and more women have shared experiences where doctors didn’t listen closely enough to their health concerns or dismissed them when something serious was happening. It’s not a trend we want to see continue. If a doctor is not making you feel confident about your health and the care you’re getting, it could be time to find someone new. Don’t forget, professionals like nurse practitioners can help with a host of health concerns and even prescribe medications like doctors can. Don’t rule them out when searching for care. If switching providers completely doesn’t feel right, try getting a second opinion.
Keep track of your symptoms
One of the best ways to relay your health concerns is by having a good record of your symptoms. A lot of women make the mistake of thinking they’ll remember the details and when they meet with their doctor, they’ve forgotten many of them. Here are some key things to track:
- Pain (rated on a scale of 1 to 10)
- Cough or congestion
- Fever (and how high it was and how long it persisted)
- Nausea, headache, dizziness
- Differences in appetite or bowel movements
- What makes you feel better (rest or medicine)
- Any other symptoms that seem worrisome
Along with the symptoms, keep track of how frequently they occur, when they started and if they have worsened. Let your notes do the heavy lifting for you at the appointment.
Be knowledgeable about potential conditions
Knowledge is power and it’s especially true when it comes to your health. Make sure you know as much as possible about your family’s health history and keep a careful record of your own. When something doesn’t feel right, those records can help you and your healthcare provider figure out possible explanations. It can also help to do research ahead of time and have your doctor walk through why one condition is or isn’t likely based on your symptoms.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
The doctor’s office can be intimidating, but it’s also an important place to get answers to your questions. If you need more details on a new medication, don’t understand why one treatment is better than another or are scared about a new diagnosis, take that extra time. If you know you’ll have a lot of questions, you can even request a longer appointment time. You’ll feel much better if you leave with your questions answered.