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Talking to Your Doctor About Menopause
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with menopause. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Should I have an examination to rule out other causes of my symptoms?
- Do I need certain tests to assess potential physical problems related to menopause?
- What can I expect as I go through menopause?
- Where can I get more information about menopause?
About Your Risk of Developing Diseases Related to Estrogen Deficiency
- What is my risk of developing osteoporosis? What can I do to decrease my risk?
- What is my risk of developing heart disease and hypertension? What can I do to decrease my risk?
- What is my risk of having breast cancer or other cancers? What can I do to decrease my risk?
About Treatment Options
- What treatments are available for menopausal symptoms?
What medicines might help me?
- How long will they take to work?
- What benefits can I expect?
- What side effects can I expect?
- Have you helped other women going through menopause? If not, could you recommend a doctor or gynecologist who specializes in the care of menopausal women?
- Do you think I could benefit from counseling? Do you know a counselor who works with women who have issues concerning menopause?
- Do you know where I could find a support group for menopause?
- Can you explain the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy?
If you decide to try counseling, interview counselors who specialize in midlife women’s issues, including menopause. Ask the following questions:
- How much training and experience do you have working with midlife women and menopausal issues?
- What is your basic approach to treatment?
- How long do I need treatment?
- How long and how frequent are the treatment sessions?
- What type of health insurance do you accept?
- Do you have special fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accompany various financial situations?
About Lifestyle Changes
- What lifestyle changes can help me manage the symptoms of menopause?
I would like strategies to address:
- Diet and eating habits
- Getting better quality sleep
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at:
http://www.acog.org/For%5FPatients/Search%5FFAQs/documents/Hormone%5FTherapy. Accessed November 2009.