Has it been difficult for you to talk about your endometriosis to your doctor? Maybe you are not sure about what words to use, maybe you feel that you are going to be judged, or you are not sure where to begin your explanation of what you are experiencing? Well, you are not alone and most of us experience this at some point in our endometriosis journey. I want to help you feel more comfortable talking about endometriosis with your doctor with these tips that I prepared for you. Please be mindful that feeling more confident and talking about endometriosis takes time but that your confidence will grow as you learn more about the illness and as you speak up and share more about your journey.
These are the tips that have worked for me to get an accurate endometriosis diagnosis:
- If we are talking about a gynecologist, do your research first and make sure they treat patients with endometriosis and that they are knowledgeable about the illness. There is a great Facebook group called Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education, in here you would find endo doctors close to you as well as key information about endometriosis treatments. Do your own research online about any of the doctors before making any appointments. I have learned about their bedside manners and stands on certain topics well before meeting them.
- The most important tip is to find the right doctor or gynecologist that takes your concerns seriously, takes the time to listen to you, that you feel comfortable, and more importantly that you can build a relationship with.
- I would recommend scheduling a visit just to discuss your endometriosis symptoms and nothing else. When you book an appointment make sure to mention your symptoms if they have worsened over time, and how they affect your daily activity. The doctor needs to give all the attention to the symptoms that you are getting from endometriosis and if you try to squeeze different problems that you may have within that appointment, they might not give it the whole attention that it deserves.
- Writing down your symptoms can save you when you are at the doctor’s. Expressing all your symptoms to your doctor is very important for an accurate diagnosis and this means that being prepared for the appointment is as important.
- Writing down all the medicine, supplements, and vitamins that you are taking. Your doctor will need to know this information especially if you need a different pain treatment plan.
- Remember to ask questions! This is so important, especially when discussing hormonal treatments, surgeries, and side effects. If you have an idea of what the appointment follow-up will be, make sure to write down a list of some of the questions that you may have so you do not forget.
- Use apps that can help you track your symptoms more accurately. The apps that I used the most when going to the doctor’s is the menstrual app and the notes on my phone. The menstrual app allows me to add symptoms every day of the calendar as well as to track when my period starts and ends. This is crucial information that your doctor needs especially if you want to establish a pattern of symptoms during ovulation or any parts of your menstrual cycle. The notes I used to write down everything that I need to take to the appointment from vitamins to questions that I might have.
- It is important to be your own health advocate and that means educating yourselves about endometriosis, inflammation, lifestyle, the surgery, the side effects, and everything that relates to the illness so you can make the best decisions for yourself.
- It is more important now than ever before to speak up for yourself and the things that are important to you. Do not be afraid to voice your plans to your doctor, especially if this is regarding your fertility. If you are clear about not having or having kids, it can drastically change the treatment options for you.
- Being able to ask for what you need and want, and expressing your thoughts and feelings is necessary and helps you gain the confidence you need for this journey.
- We need to be knowledgeable about our rights as a patient but also our responsibilities.
- Asking the right, informed questions to your doctor can lead to the best treatment options. Write them down if necessary so you do not forget. This will lead to making the right choices for a better quality of life.
- There is always a way to express your frustration and emotions calmly and positively. If you are not able to separate your emotions at the time of the appointment, you can write down what you want to say and give it to the doctor.
- Remember that google is a weapon of two sides, it is important to analyze with a critical eye all the information that you are receiving on this platform before presenting it to your doctor. Google will not replace the years of experience that your doctor has treating endometriosis.
- The goal is for you to decide what you want, and then develop and carry out a plan to help you get where you want to be. Remember you are the one in control and if you are not comfortable with the plan of action or the doctor, feel free to change it as you fit.
There is a lot more that happens outside of the doctor’s office. I would say that most of the endometriosis healing process happens at home. The only way to treat endometriosis is in a multimodal program, which includes an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, physical therapy, nutrition, mindfulness, and environment. I strongly believe that medicine is a tool for that quality of life that we desperately need, but it is not the whole picture.
I hope these tips can help you feel more confident the next time that you are speaking to your doctor about endometriosis.
Please enjoy, share, and let me know your feedback on this topic or anything you would like to talk about! Until the next one 😊