Visiting the doctor can be a scary, stressful experience. For some, this is even true for regular check-ups like annual physical exams. It doesn’t help that dealing with health issues is intimidating, especially if you’ve been having strange symptoms.
But look at it this way. A doctor’s checkup is a beneficial, valuable resource. It’s a major step towards staying healthy and taking care of yourself. Are you making the most out of each appointment?
To start, know that there are things many doctors wish they could say. Yet, it’s not a guarantee that they will, so it’s up to you to take charge. By keeping the following things in mind, you can open up the door for strong communication.
1. “Let Me Know If You’re Taking Herbal Supplements”
With the rise of natural remedies, herbal supplements have become increasingly popular. In fact, in 2007, about 17.7 percent American adults used them.1 That number is increasing by the day.
If you’re using herbal supplements, be honest. Sure, it might feel awkward to say that you’re taking something they didn’t prescribe, but a doctor needs to know. Herbal supplements have drug-like effects and can easily mess with prescription medicine or underlying conditions.
2. “Be Honest If You’re Not Taking Your Medicine”
Were you prescribed metformin for diabetes or niacin for high cholesterol? Regardless of your medication, it’s crucial to follow the doctor’s instructions. If you don’t, let the doctor know.
Besides, this stuff is hard to hide! Blood tests that don’t improve may point to poor compliance. In order to guide you through the next step, tell your doctor when and why you stopped taking medicine. It’s especially important if you experienced adverse side effects.
3. “Don’t Lie About Your Habits”
Do you see a theme? Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to your lifestyle. Tell the truth when the doctor asks about your habits, whether it’s about drinking or sexual activity. It’s the only way you’ll get the right kind of attention. The doctor’s office should be a judgment-free zone. If you feel otherwise, consider seeking out a different doctor.
4. “You Don’t Always Need A Prescription”
Some people may feel like they haven’t been treated if they don’t walk out a prescription. However, here’s the deal: Not every condition needs medicine! For instance, the “stomach flu” is caused by the norovirus and can’t be treated with antibiotics. The doctor will likely “prescribe” lots of rest and fluids.2
5. “Be Clear About Your Symptoms”
Diagnosis and treatment is a two-way street. Without the right information, a doctor will have a tricky time getting to the root of a problem. That’s where you come in. Pay attention to when symptoms started. Think about what makes it better or worse, and how it’s affecting your daily life. If necessary, write everything down. Being clear and concise will only help you in the end.
6. “Don’t Be Embarrassed About Your Symptoms”
Do you have fishy vaginal discharge? Is your poop the definition of explosive diarrhea? Tell the doctor every last detail. By now, they’ve seen and heard it all. Again, being honest is the only way they can provide the right treatment. Brushing over certain symptoms might end up in the wrong diagnosis, or worse, the wrong medicine.
7. “Clean Up Before Visiting Me”
When you’re feeling under the weather, personal hygiene might be the last thing on your mind. Yet, it’s still vital to stay clean and presentable. A funky body odor might deter the doctor from giving you full attention. Obviously, you don’t need to dress up and wear makeup. Simple habits like bathing and brushing your teeth will go a long way.