By Monazza Ahmad, B.Pharm, MSc
To ensure best health outcomes in a healthcare setting, it is important to establish open, effective, and respectful communication between a patient and a healthcare practitioner.
As a patient, it is not only your right but in your best interest to ask your doctor for clarification or further explanation on your health condition and treatment plan. As a healthcare provider, it is your responsibility to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your patients to openly discuss their health concerns and make sure your diagnosis and treatment plan is well understood.
That said, menopause can trigger many complex and confusing symptoms that can be uncomfortable to talk about, which can make managing the symptoms difficult. Here are some tips for both patients and practitioners to start the conversation around menopause and its symptoms that we discussed in our previous post, Menopausal Symptoms.
When should I talk to my doctor about menopause?1
First of all, don’t feel awkward. Menopause is a natural phase of life, and your doctor is likely familiar with all possible symptoms. Describe your condition and symptoms in detail and explain how they are affecting your lifestyle and relationships. The provider needs to rule out any other underlying conditions before determining it is menopause.
Reach out to your doctor if:
Don’t forget to tell your doctor if you have any allergies or other health conditions. Also mention any medications or supplements you’re already taking for menopause symptoms or other conditions.
What shall I ask my doctor?
Medical appointments can be stressful, and we often feel rushed. When you have a delicate issue to bring up, being prepared can help. Here are some of the questions you can ask your practitioner:
How can healthcare providers ensure the right care during menopause?
Often, the reluctance from healthcare professionals to address these female issues can also cause lack of awareness. It is the healthcare provider’s obligation to make sure patients feel comfortable in discussing their menopausal concerns and understand the treatment plan.2
According to a survey by NIH, patients are likely to discuss menopause transition with providers who don’t make them feel rushed, are good listeners, and have expertise in this area of women’s health.
Here are some ways to help your patients receive the best care:
What to ask your patients:3
Menopause symptoms evaluation form and rating scale (click to enlarge)Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, and its challenges need to be accepted and understood at work, at home, and on a social as well as a societal level. Unless these concerns are progressively communicated in a healthcare setting, it will be tough for us to understand the impact of this condition on a woman’s life.
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