Communicating honestly with your doctor is one of the best ways to make sure you get the care you need, but does the thought of sharing personal health information feel daunting? How to communicate with your doctor can be a tough topic. However, I’ve learned over time that honesty truly is the best policy for you and your health care provider.
It’s difficult to talk about how to get personal without getting a bit personal myself. In the past, I’ve avoided going to the doctor because I’ve been in denial that I have a health issue and uncomfortable at the thought of admitting it. This is especially true when seeing a doctor I haven’t worked with before.
As a devoted runner, it took me years to get comfortable seeing an orthopedic specialist and admitting to him that I was facing an injury. I was embarrassed and scared to receive a diagnosis I didn’t want to hear — or find out I would have to skip a race or take time off from running.
Making The Change
Recently, I’ve had a slew of doctor’s appointments because I’m expecting my first child this February. A few discussions have been uncomfortable, for sure — but knowing that my doctor has everything she needs to do her job gives me incredible peace of mind that I’m making the best decisions for my baby and myself.
Have you faced the same fears I have when it comes to getting personal with your health care provider? If so, maybe these tips on how to communicate with your doctor will help.
Tell Them Everything
The saying “less is more” doesn’t apply when it comes to communication about your health. When it comes to pinning down the right diagnosis, you never know what information could help your doctor. If you’ve been stressed at work, have had a significant lifestyle change, or have faced issues that may impact your health, even in the slightest, talk about it. With a full picture of your lifestyle, your doctor can make a better diagnosis.
Don’t Forget Your Past
If you’re seeing a new provider, don’t neglect to tell them about past health issues. Although it can be embarrassing to bring up health battles you’re ashamed of or relive illnesses that you’ve overcome and moved on from, it’s best if your doctor knows what you’ve experienced in the past so that they can help you stay healthy in the future. The National Institutes of Health recommends keeping track of old medical records so that you can show a complete health history.
Remember What’s at Risk
If you’re still scared to get real with your doctor, remember that your health could be at risk. If I ever doubt myself when sharing personal information with my doctor, I imagine two scenarios: feeling embarrassed for five minutes because I was honest, or getting sick or injured for weeks because I wasn’t. Your health should always come first!