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 Medical Self-Care: Visiting Your Doctor\Gynecologist Checklist 
 

First:

  • Be ready to give your doctor information about your health history. Make a list of these things:
    • Health conditions that run in your family (examples: breast or other cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, alcoholism).
    • Past illnesses and what medical treatment you had for each.
    • Past hospitalizations and any surgery you have had.
    • Medications you take, have taken (names, doses, side effects, if any).
    • Number of pregnancies, their outcomes and any problems you had.
    • Birth control method(s) you have used and use now and side effects, if any.
    • Menstrual history, when you started your periods, if they’ve been regular or not and if you have or have had any problems.
    • Take the list with you when you go to the doctor’s office.

    Second:

  • It’s easy to forget to ask your doctor all your questions and express all your concerns. The following checklist helps to identify what things you might forget to ask and discuss. Jot down the questions from the list that you want to ask your doctor. Take the list with you.
  • Sample questions to ask your doctor:
    • Diagnosis (What’s wrong?)
    • Why do I have this problem? Ask the doctor to explain any medical terms you don’t know.
    • Do I need more testing? If so, what? How much do these tests cost? Will my insurance cover them? Where do I get the information?
    • Prognosis (What will happen?)
    • How will this problem affect me in the future?
    • Treatment (What should I do?)
    • What treatment should I follow? This could include medical treatment or changes to diet or lifestyle.
    • What will happen if I don’t treat it now?
    • How do I get ready for any tests that I need?
    • How often should I have a mammogram, pelvic exam, pap smear and professional breast exam? Should I have any tests for STDs?
    • What other tests should I have and when?
    • Do I call to schedule the test or does your office do it for me?
    • When and how will I get the test results?
    • Should I call you?
    • When do you want to see me again?
    • What else should I know?
    • Can I get any more information about this problem?
    • Are there any local or national health organizations that I can call or write to for more information? Do you have their numbers and addresses?
    • Where should I go if I need emergency care?
    • Specialists (What about seeing another doctor?)
    • Should I see a specialist?
    • Does this specialist work out of more than one office?
    • Whom should I see? Can you write this down for me?
    • Is this person board certified?
    • How soon should I be seen by this specialist?
    • What if I can’t get an appointment for a month or more? Can you help me get in sooner or should I try to see someone else?
    • Doctor Fees (How much will this cost me?)
    • What will this office visit cost me today?
    • What will the fees be for other services? Ask this before you get the services.
    • What does my health insurance cover?
    • Medications (What will the medicine do?)
    • Why do I need this medicine?
    • What is the name of the drug?
    • How and when should I take it?
    • Are there any foods, drinks or things I should avoid when taking this medicine?
    • What should I do if I forget to take it?
    • Should I expect side effects?
    • Is this drug known to cause birth defects? (For women who are pregnant or planning a future pregnancy.)
    • Will I have to take this medicine for a short time or from now on?
    • Is there a generic equivalent of this medicine?
    • Will this medicine be okay to take with other medicine I’m already taking?
    • Could any non-drug measures work as well?
    • Surgery (What if I need an operation?)
    • Do I need surgery at this time?
    • Who will do the surgery? How many times has this surgeon done it?
    • Is there a certain time of the month I should have this surgery?
    • What are my choices with surgery? Ask about minor procedures vs.. major ones.
    • Do I have any choices instead of surgery?
    • What are the benefits? What are the risks?
    • Where will I have this surgery?
    • Can I have the surgery as an outpatient?
    • Where can I get a second opinion? Know if your insurance company needs a second opinion for surgery. Find out what their rules are. Your insurance company may want you to call a certain number and use certain doctors for second opinions.
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