How do you make sure that you have a good conversation with your doctor?
You’ve finally managed to get an appointment at your doctor/gynocologist/female health worker/nurse to discuss your birth control needs. Firstly, well done for taking your own health seriously! How do you make sure that you get the most out of that conversation?
1. Be prepared
This is perhaps the MOST important (which is why we started with this one!). You need to know what you want to talk about. Note down the questions you have and, importantly, there is literally no question that is a stupid question – these wonderful professionals are trained to answer the kind of questions you want to ask!
Another way to be prepared is to do some research yourself first… are you looking for a new birth control option (hey! You came to the right place), or do you have questions about side effects you’re experiencing? Then do a bit of googling (while remaining wary of the ‘Dr Google’ effect, where you are led to believe death is imminent after an innocent google search). Explore your options right here at fourfiveoh.com
Tell the doctor/nurse/gynocologist what you want out of the meeting
What is it that you want to get out of your doctor/nurse/gynocologist visit? Make sure this is one of the first things you tell the medical professional. If you start the conversation with something along the lines of “I’m not happy with my current method of birth control and I’d like to explore alternatives” or “I’m thinking of starting a family within the next 18 months, what do I need to think about,” or “I’d like to understand why I keep getting urinary tract infections in the last 6 months” – you’re off to a great start.
Remember it is about you
We know a lot of women who are uncomfortable talking about themselves, and this is something that we collectively need to get over, especially when it comes to going to the doctor. This is a time when it is 100% about us. So, tell your doctor/nurse/gynocologist about everything you have on your mind.
Not sure if your increased anxiety is relevant in your discussion about changing birth control? Think again – it might not be, but it could well be, and you’ll only know if you ask.
Unsure if you should mention that you currently have 3 partners? Feeling anxious to mention that you’re still a virgin? Feeling self-conscious about wonky labia. We can assure you, these professionals have seen and heard it all – they are not there to judge, so tell all. It’s in your interest because it might lead to more questions, it might be totally irrelevant it equally it could lead to you discovering the perfect method of birth control for you!
Don’t make assumptions
We talk to a lot of women who expect that their gynocologist is going to present ALL possible methods of birth control to them when they ask about changing birth control. They assume that their doctor will ask all the right questions, will know that the woman in front of them is also feeling depressed, or whatever it might be.
You’re not expected to know everything about your body, about what options are available to you. If your doctor uses a word you don’t understand, or you didn’t understand something they said, you have to speak up and ask. Sounds obvious, right?
Tell the truth
It is important that you are truthful with the medical professional sitting in front of you. They need to know if you have multiple sexual partners, if you missed a pill, or if you aren’t confident that you’d remember to take the pill every day. They also need to know if you have any medical conditions (for example heart conditions that run in your family, high blood pressure or a history of anxiety or depression). Hiding the truth can result in you being prescribed a method of birth control that is unsuitable for you.
Our last tip to leave you with is that if you’re not happy with your medical contact – find a new one. If you’ve tried all the above and you’re just not feeling listened to, then try someone else.