Talking to Your Doctor About Menopause

Knowing how to talk to your doctor or other members of your health care team can help you get the information you need about menopause . Here are some tips for talking with your doctor:

  • Make a list of concerns and questions to take to your visit with your doctor. While you're waiting to be seen, use the time to review your list and organize your thoughts. You can share the list with your doctor.
  • Describe your symptoms clearly and briefly. Say when they started, how they make you feel, what triggers them, and what you've done to relieve them.
  • Tell your doctor this important information:
    • What prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal products, and other supplements you're taking.
    • Your diet, physical activity, smoking, alcohol or drug use, and sexual history
    • Describe allergies to drugs, foods, or other things.
    • Don't forget to mention if you are being treated by other doctors.
  • Don't feel embarrassed about discussing sensitive topics. Chances are, your doctor has heard it before! Don't leave something out because you're worried about taking up too much time. Be sure to have all of your concerns addressed before you leave.
  • If your doctor orders tests, be sure to ask how to find out about results and how long it takes to get them. Get instructions for what you need to do to get ready for the test(s) and find out about any dangers or side effects with the test(s).
  • When you are given medicine and other treatments, ask your doctor about them. Talk about the latest studies and recommendations for treating menopausal symptoms (see Women's Health Initiative news). Ask how long treatment will last, if it has any side effects, how much it will cost, and if it is covered by insurance. Make sure you understand how to take your medicine; what to do if you miss a dose; if there are any foods, drugs, or activities you should avoid when taking the medicine; and if you can take a generic brand.
  • Understand everything before you leave your visit. If you don't understand something, ask to have it explained again.
  • Bring a family member or trusted friend with you to your visit. That person can take notes, offer moral support, and help you remember what was discussed. You can also have that person ask questions as well.