Discussing Menopause with Your Doctor
If you think you might be experiencing menopause symptoms, you’ll want to be prepared for the road ahead. Understand the changes in your body, check out menopause resources online, and talk to other women. But the most important relationship you’ll develop is with your doctor or health care professional.
It’s a good idea to schedule a doctor visit when you first recognize signs of menopause. Communicate openly with your doctor. And during your visit, decide if this is the doctor who can manage your menopause symptoms, help you find treatments, and understands your needs. It’s vitally important to be comfortable your physician, so don’t be afraid of change. You might need someone more experienced with menopausal women.
When you first meet and discuss menopause symptoms with your doctor, consider asking him or her the following questions:
• Could menopause be the cause of my symptoms?
• Should I make any changes to my lifestyle before taking medication?
• What can I do to avoid—or lessen the frequency of—hot flashes?
• I’ve noticed dramatic changes in my moods. Is this related to my fluctuating hormones and feelings of depression?
• What can I do about vaginal dryness during intercourse? And if I’m losing interest, could this be the cause?
• What is hormone replacement therapy? If it’s right for me, what are the side effects?
• Should I feel comfortable taking vitamins, supplements, or advertised herbal remedies to help treat my symptoms?
• How can I protect my bones from the loss of estrogen?
• Am I getting the proper nutrition?
• Do I need to lose weight?
• What types of exercises are appropriate for me?
• Should I be using birth control?
• What stage of menopause am I in? How will I know when I’ve made the transition through menopause?
• Would you recommend any tests to rule out other possibilities?
Your doctor should be knowledgeable, open to discussing your symptoms, and able to answer your questions. But menopause can be a challenging time in our lives. Make sure that your doctor can also offer the care and attention you need for your journey.