The search for a new doctor can be very stressful, most notably perhaps with a gynecologist as this relationship is extremely intimate and when you find a great doctor, this relationship can last for many years.
Having recently done the search myself, I’ve got some tips on how to best prepare yourself for meeting with a new doctor and what to expect when you’re at the appointment.
Searching for Gynecologists
- Ask for a Referral – A great way to start your search for a new gynecologist is to go to the trusted ladies in your life. This will help to do some of the leg work for you and I swear you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many of your girlfriends are willing to share their awesome doctors!
- Do Your Research – Once you have narrowed down a short list of possible doctors, look online to see what others are saying about their experience with them.
Preparing for Your Appointment
- Keep Track of Your Period – Start logging your period a couple months out from your appointment. This way, you know exactly how long your cycle is, if there are any irregularities, as well as any unusual period symptoms you’ve noticed. Monthly Gift has an awesome free period tracking app available in both the App and Google Play stores that even allows you to note your symptoms each month and set reminders for your birth control and upcoming appointments.
- Find Out Your Family History – It’s super important that you are in the know with your family’s health background and if you’re unsure, give your mom, sister, aunt, etc. a quick call to gather the facts.
- Pull Your Charts – Give your previous gynecologist and physician offices a call and see if you can have your medical history sent to your new doctor. This is especially important if you have a medical history worth mentioning (i.e. abnormal pap smears, STDs, and so on).
- Self Check – Do a quick self breast exam and take notice of anything out of the ordinary that you can bring up with your doctor during your appointment. For some quick tips to self-exam, click here.
At Your Appointment
- Be Aware and Take Mental Notes – From the start of your appointment, make mental notes of how you are feeling. Was the office staff helpful? Did the doctor review your chart before meeting with you? Did they answer all of your questions effectively and give you enough one-on-one time during your appointment? Most importantly, were you comfortable with your new doctor?
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions! – I am a huge advocate of asking as many questions as possible. I usually brainstorm a list of questions beforehand and break them down into two categories. The first set of questions are short and simple that I ask the nurse practitioner and the second set are the questions that require a longer discussion and a doctor’s input.
- Let the Doctor Know – Did you notice anything weird with your period this month? Did you note any new symptoms in your period tracker? Are you unhappy with your birth control and looking for something new? Tell your doctor! Also, don’t forget to mention your family’s medical history as well as your medical history. The more informed your doctor is, the better they can help you. It’s a win-win!
Following Your Appointment
- Check Back – Before leaving the office, check back in with the office staff one last time to make sure you are all set for your next visit and if there are any last to do’s such as noting your preferred pharmacy.
- Review – Remember those mental notes I mentioned earlier? Write them down and review internally. Is this the right doctor for you? If not, don’t worry! There are many other gyno-fishes in the sea. Don’t feel stuck with one that you didn’t love.
- Continue Your Self Checks and Period Tracking! – Don’t forget to self check in between appointments and continue to track your period to stay in control of your health.