Visiting a doctor regularly for routine checks should be a priority for all women, but there are certain times in your life when visiting the treating doctor that specialises in hormonal imbalances can help you better manage lifestyle changes.
Menopause signals the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and while this happens to all women, the experience of menopause is different for everyone. This stage of life typically comes with a number of symptoms, which a doctor that specialises in hormonal imbalances can help guide you through.
Whether you have a doctor you’ve been seeing for years or are on the search for a new one, asking questions is the first place to start when striving for the right menopause care. Ask your current doctor if he/she can continue to provide suitable care for your menopause issues, or if they can recommend another doctor that specialises in this type of health care.
Start by looking at the doctor’s medical credentials and how long they have been practising. Their credentials may also highlight certain areas they specialise in or particular areas of interest.
Next you’ll want to set up a meeting. Arranging an appointment with a doctor that specialises in hormonal imbalances will help you learn of their expertise when it comes to menopause, their ability to communicate, their general manner, and overall capacity to cater to your needs.
Preparing for your appointment
There are several things you should do to prepare for an appointment with a doctor that specialises in hormonal imbalances. These things include:
- Take along a record of your menstrual cycles. Keep a journal of your menstrual cycles for the past few months, including first and last day of bleeding for each cycle and whether flow was heavy, moderate or light.
- Make a list of any signs or symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Include detailed descriptions and even symptoms you’re not sure are related.
- Make a note of key personal information. Include any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of any medications you take and the doses. Include prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins and supplements.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. By taking someone with you you stand a better chance at retaining all relevant information.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask.
Having a list of questions to ask is an important part of this interview. Ask about their facility’s policies for setting appointments and how many patients they see each day. Ask about their process for determining a patient’s individual needs and the possible treatments to explore.
Other questions you may like to ask include:
- How much of your practice is focused on menopause?
- What is your preferred approach to treating women with menopause?
- Which hospital(s) are you affiliated with?
- Who covers for you when you are away from your office?
- Will you be available if I need help out of office hours?
- How do you stay up-to-date with the latest menopause research?
Other more personal questions to ask include:
- What, if any, treatment do I need for menopause?
- Is hormone replacement therapy right for me? What are the side effects and how can I deal with them?
- How will menopause affect my sex life?
- How does menopause affect other conditions or diseases I have?
- Does menopause increase my risk for other conditions?
- Are there any medications, supplements, or natural remedies you recommend?
- Should I make changes to my diet?
- How much and what kinds of exercise should I be doing?
- Are there any lifestyle habits you would recommend?
- How will I know when menopause is over?
The doctor’s answers to these questions – as well as their demeanour and body language while delivering their answers – can offer important insight on what they feel about different aspects of menopause medicine.
After the interview, ask yourself a few questions such as:
- How do I feel about this doctor?
- Will I feel comfortable talking about personal issues, including sexuality?
- Do their office staff seem helpful and accessible?
If you feel confused about their answers, consider creating a list of the things you believe to be of most importance and see how they fare.
Factors on your list could include:
- Preferred methods
- Covered by insurance
These factors should be listed in order of importance. Your doctor should show readiness to hear your concerns, appear comfortable when discussing your health concerns and offer in-depth knowledge about menopause and its symptoms. If you don’t ‘click’ with your doctor, keep looking until you find someone you can be comfortable and open with.
Finding someone you relax with and relate to is important, as with the right medical professional by your side, you can sail smoothly through this disruptive time.