There are certain elements of adulting that nobody enjoys – doing taxes, changing tires, scheduling (and attending) routine doctor’s appointments. But when it comes to preventative health, keeping up with those doctor’s appointments, like your routine OB/GYN exam, is critical. While scheduling the appointment may seem like the capstone of adulthood, the real stuff happens once you’re actually in the office. Effective communication about your menstrual health with your OB/GYN is one of the most important parts of your appointment, especially if you experience symptoms that might require a treatment plan. And although you may feel embarrassed to ask or say certain things, trust us, your healthcare providers’ bottom line is to help you and keep you healthy. So, let’s dive into why (and how) you should communicate your symptoms to get the most out of your appointment and get your uterine health on track.
- Your OBGYN can’t address your concerns if you don’t voice them.
Much like the rest of us, doctors can’t read minds, so it’s important to speak up during appointments to make sure that anything bothering you is brought to their attention. Although symptoms like heavy bleeding, cramps, and pelvic pain can be serious, your doctor may not proactively ask you if you are experiencing these issues unless you express concern.
Take the opportunity if your doctor asks you broader questions like, “how is your period?” or “is there anything I should know?”. It would be easy to shrug and move on, but it is much more beneficial to you in the long run to take that chance to discuss what’s been bothering you.
- Symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition.
Although you think something is common or normal, it might be a sign of something more serious. In fact, heavy or prolonged bleeding during your cycle might be caused by a condition called abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), which impacts 1 in 5 women of reproductive age.1 Proactivity in communicating symptoms is key, as something like heavy periods which are often perceived as common and normal, could point to a number of conditions like AUB, fibroids, endometriosis or PCOS; conditions that would need to be identified via pelvic exam, blood tests, or hysteroscopic visualization of the uterus (basically a camera that can see what’s going on in there).1
- Treatment, therapies and preventative care will be based on your lifestyle, too.
Oversharing may be considered negative on social media, but the more you can share with your doctor, the better. Whether your plan involves birth control pills, an IUD, a procedure, or nothing at all, your decision on how to treat a uterine health issue will be based not only on your health, but on your stage of life, lifestyle and plan for the future.
There are plenty of other reasons why you should continually speak up about your health (hello, it’s 2019!), but when it comes down to it, these conversations aren’t the easiest. Remember that your doctor is there to listen and to provide you the best possible care for you. If you’re embarrassed to ask a question, try writing it down! It sounds silly, but you can blame it on the organizer in you that needs to write down lists for everything. If you’re not sure where to start, try our symptom checker quiz or doctor discussion guide to give you an idea of concerns to bring up, and print out what you need to take with you to your appointment.
No matter how you start the conversation, you should leave your doctor’s office feeling like your voice has been heard and your concerns addressed. You can get inspired every week as we share helpful content on the blog to tackle uterine health issues with your doctor, and help you live your life to the fullest.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heavy menstrual bleeding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed July 05, 2017.