Visiting a gynecologist for the first time can be confusing and exhausting. I was ill-prepared for my first visit, I barely knew what to expect which made my experience harder than it needed to be.
Over the years, I have come up with a preparation strategy that has yielded great results. I find my visits to the gynecologist now more comprehensive, and the waiting room does not discourage me.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your visits to the gynecologist.
1. Call in advance
Doctors are busy people. It is wise to call in advance and make sure that the doctor will be in on the day that you want to go. If the Doctor is very busy and constantly in theatre, call on the day to confirm that he will be in.
If the doctor sees patients by appointment only, be sure to make an appointment in advance.
If the doctor sees patients on a first come, first served basis, find out what time he comes in and leaves, then plan to be there in good time.
Confirm payment terms in advance; if you are using insurance, find out if they accept your insurance cover and if you have to co-pay. If you are paying cash, confirm the amount for first visit and subsequent visits. Clarify the terms of payment accepted, if they accept credit card or M-Pesa or cash.
2. Write down the key points of your story
For the doctor to treat you well, it is best if s/he hears the whole story, from the beginning. Write down the key points of your story so that you can refer to them, when asked ‘How can I help you today?’.
Points you can consider:
When did you start your periods? How were they? Your current cycle pattern? If you’ve had a diagnosis made, note down dates. Current symptoms you are experiencing and when they begun. Any family history that s/he should be aware of? Which medicines have you tried and what was your experience? Any drug allergies
3. Carry supporting documents
If you’ve had diagnostic tests done, carry the results so that the doctor can have a look at them . If you are currently taking any medication, carry it for the doctor to see.
4. Write down questions and concerns you may have
Did you read something on google that sparked a number of questions? Note them down. As you ask the questions, remember that google is not a Doctor.
5. Have a meal and carry a form of entertainment
Waiting rooms can be boring and morbid. Sometimes you meet happy-go-lucky people, and sometimes you meet people who’d rather sit in silence. To avoid prolonged small talk that may or may not be appreciated, carry a form of entertainment to keep your mind off of the time you spend waiting.
Waiting can make you hungry, if you can, have a meal before you enter the waiting room.
All the best. As you go, pray that God who knit you in your mother’s womb will give the doctor divine wisdom to treat you.