5 Ways to Build Trust With Your Doctor
Menopausal health can be a challenge to navigate, that’s why it’s important to find a doctor who can understand your needs and help you identify the best preventative methods and treatment methods. Of course, doctor’s appointments can be a struggle in their own way. The fear of not knowing can make it difficult to walk into a doctor’s office and talk about health concerns.
Finding ways to manage that fear and anxiety is important and the best way you can do that is to build a strong, trusting relationship with your doctor. Your doctor is there to help you identify, prevent, and treat health issues. Without trust, your doctor cannot give you the best treatment and your health suffers as a result.
As women, we tend not to be completely honest with our doctors because society has conditioned us to think that talking about our problems, no matter how relevant they are to the situation, is bothersome and that no one wants to hear it. Through the years we have held back information surrounding our health out of embarrassment or shame or guilt, and that is completely unhealthy. It does more harm to us to hold back information about our health and our symptoms than we may realize, and having a trusting relationship with your doctor can make all the difference.
So, how can you build trust with your doctor?
Be Upfront About Your Concerns
Get your major concerns out of the way and talk about them with your doctor first. If there are conditions or diseases that are common in your family, identify those, and talk about them with your doctor. If you’re experiencing strange or sudden symptoms, talk about them. If you’re nervous about determining a treatment plan for your symptoms, tell that to your doctor. A good doctor will help ease your anxiety and help you navigate your concerns with ease and peace of mind.
Tell Them What You Know
How painful are your symptoms? How often do they occur? Do you have any conditions? Are you currently on any medications? These questions need to be addressed with your doctor before they can narrow down your treatment options. Tell them what you know about your symptoms. If you’ve done research ahead of time in an attempt to understand your health issues, tell your doctor what you know and you think matches up. If you find something that you think is worth mentioning to your doctor, bring it up in conversation and ask them about it. They can give you more detailed insight into what you can expect from your symptoms and from your treatments.
You may have a lot of questions going into the doctor’s office. You may have an idea of what symptoms you’re experiencing but have none of the facts or knowledge behind it, and that’s perfectly fine. Ask them questions about the things you don’t understand. If you don’t know what a specific condition is, ask them. If you don’t know what side effects of certain medications are, ask them. Asking questions is the most important step in the process. You cannot learn and better manage your health if you’re left in the dark. Always ask questions.
Be Honest When Describing Symptoms
We often rate the pain or discomfort we experience lower than what we truly experience. It’s a typical habit for both women and men. It’s within our nature to try and downplay the pain we experience, and it’s a type of defense mechanism that we use habitually to maintain an air of strength and calm in the face of adversity. This habit can be more damaging than we realize, no matter how admirable we may think we are for “toughing out” pain and discomfort.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that are impacting your everyday life to the point where you can’t enjoy it or have trouble performing simple tasks, you need to be honest with your doctor about that. Describe your symptoms in detail. Be honest when rating pain or discomfort. Don’t try to tough through your symptoms. Your doctor is there to help you and they can’t do that if you don’t tell them the whole truth.
Build a Rapport
Diving headfirst into discussing your health concerns is often easier said than done. Sometimes that discomfort is too overwhelming to delve into the details of sensitive topics, especially when talking to a complete stranger about them. So, try to build a rapport with your doctor. Have friendly conversations to break the ice. Tell a few jokes. Find ways to alleviate some of the tension you feel and treat them the way you’d treat a friend. Your doctor doesn’t have to be just your healthcare provider, they can be an acquaintance that you feel comfortable around. The more comfortable you feel around them, the easier it will be for you to discuss more sensitive health issues and get the right treatment.
Be Your Best Advocate
If you find it difficult to do the above suggestions, remember that your health is the most important thing you have. Your health impacts every other aspect of your life! When you find yourself being less honest about your pain levels, afraid to ask a question, or embarrassed to talk about a symptom, remind yourself that you need to do it for your health, so that the rest of your life can be as happy as possible. Your primary concern should always be to put your health first.