During the menopause transition (peri-menopause), so many things hit you from all angles.
With such confusion going on, when it’s time to see your doctor about menopause, being calm, collected and prepared is pretty important. How can she help you if she doesn’t have pertinent information.
Here are some quick and easy pointers so you can get the very most from your appointment. The more methodical you are, the more likely you’ll get accurate, satisfactory answers to the questions buzzing in your mind.
Then you’ll be better placed to think about the most appropriate course of treatment. There’s a big difference between committing to hormone replacement therapy and buying a portable fan. (1)(2)
Take Note Of Every Symptom You Are Experiencing
Perhaps the most important part of planning for your appointment with the menopause doctor is the time leading up to it.
Think about some of the more common menopausal symptoms (3):
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Interrupted sleep
- Weight gain
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Vaginal dryness
Perimenopause is the period of up to 10 years leading to menopause. As your reproductive cycle starts to shut down, the menopausal symptoms start to manifest. (4)
You need to record what symptoms you are having. Think about how often they occur, and how they make you feel. Try to grade the severity on a simple scale of 1 to 10. Just writing this on a calendar will work.
Once you’ve got a document of your menopausal symptoms in place, it’s a smart strategy to think about more general questions.
You might think you’ll easily remember everything you need to ask the doctor, but even if you’re not experiencing the forgetfulness that often accompanies menopause, it’s only natural for these questions to slip your mind. (5)
Write them down. Be prepared.
Write Down All of Your Questions
Whether you prefer pen and paper or the computer, compile a list of questions in preparation for your appointment with the menopause doctor.
Most general questions concerning the difference between perimenopause and menopause are simple enough to research on your own before seeing your doctor. Again, the more informed you are, the more targeted your questions can be.
Here are 10 quick ideas …
- Am I too young right now for menopause?
- How long will the symptoms I have told you about last?
- What can I do to lessen these symptoms?
- Do I need to see any kind of specialist?
- What treatment options are available?
- Is hormone replacement therapy safe?
- Would you recommend any natural alternatives to HRT?
- Can you advise me on some reputable sources for reliable medical information?
- Can I still get pregnant based on what I’ve told you?
- Should I consider changing my diet? (6) (7)
If you use the above questions as prompts and start brainstorming with your own symptoms in mind, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can formulate a long list!
Organize these questions methodically, focus on those that are most important and finally…
Make sure you remember to take the piece of paper with you to the appointment.
Understand and Know Your Period Cycle History
One of the most critical areas of information you can focus on to best prepare for your menopause doctor’s appointment is your menstrual cycle.
Since irregular periods often occur in the run-up to menopause, it pays for you to be fully aware of the history of your period cycle. (8)
Think about how regular your periods have been over the months leading to your appointment. (9)
- Have your periods been particularly heavy or unusually light?
- How long did you menstruate for?
- Has your cycle been regular, or different?
- How old were you when your menstrual cycle first began?
The more information you can give your menopause doctor about your cycle, the better advice you’re likely to get.
And there’s one more thing to remember…
Bring Your Pen and Paper To Write
As well as your list of questions, be sure to arrive at your menopause doctor’s appointment armed with some blank paper and a pen.
As you get answers to all your questions along with some more general recommendations, the number of facts and figures you’re bombarded with might seem overwhelming.
You’ll doubtless be given some advice on possible courses of treatment. Write down any further questions you have about these options.
Make sure that you jot down anything you might later forget. Then, when you get home, you can conduct more research from the comfort of home while armed with all the information you need.
Bottom line, the more effort you make and the more organized you are when heading to the menopause doctor, the more satisfactory the outcome of that appointment is likely to be.
Vergo is an interactive program that gives women the tools to understand their Menopause.
- The Vergo iOS symptom tracker (emailable to your healthcare provider)
- The Vergo QuikTrak symptom tracker (the refillable pdf version, also emailable)
- Vergo’s Interactive Education Program, Journey Without a Roadmap: Understanding Menopause
- Curated guides to the biggest questions and hottest topics around menopause symptoms and treatment options
- Must-have information on male menopause: There’s an Andropause? (an overview of what your guy could be going through)
- Terminology Cheat Sheets
Click the button below for more information!