6 Tips to Help with Gynecologic Diagnosis
What should I do to help determine my gynecologic diagnosis?
Once you know your gynecologic diagnosis, there are many treatment options you can consider. Unfortunately, many diagnosis have of the same symptoms, including abnormal bleeding, bloating and abdominal discomfort, and excessive and irregular bleeding. As a result, it can take some time and effort to determine your diagnosis, but you can make better treatment decisions if you have a firm diagnosis.
Here are six tips which can help you as you work with your medical team to determine your diagnosis.
1. Keep a symptom diary.
It is very important to keep a detailed symptom diary as you work through the diagnostic process. Your symptom diary can help you communicate clearly with your doctor as well as help you both see if there are patterns which could help with diagnosing your condition. Many symptoms are the same for several different diagnoses, so the more details you can track the better. Besides recording symptoms, you should note any other circumstances which may be impacting your health. These can include medications, sleeping habits, meals, and any stressful issues in your life.
2. Have a well-woman exam.
A well-woman exam should cover healthcare basics from head to toe. Your doctor should discuss your overall health, lifestyle, medications, and any current health concerns you may have. The physical exam should include a breast check as well as a pelvic exam and Pap smear. Your doctor may be able to discover the cause of your symptoms during your well-woman exam, or you could be referred for further testing.
3. Follow through with testing.
It can be time consuming and expensive to undergo a wide variety of tests, but many of them are helpful for eliminating or diagnosing a wide variety of conditions. If your doctor recommends a test, ask any questions you may have so you understand how it could be helpful for you. Once you understand the risks and benefits, follow through with the tests and be sure to attend the follow up visit with your physician.
4. See a gynecologist.
Although your primary care physician may be excellent, if you are having persistent gynecologic symptoms it’s a good idea to see a gynecologist. A gynecologist specializes in gynecology so h/she should be more aware of those issues as well as the latest treatment options and recommendations. Your primary care physician may be able to refer you, or you can ask female relatives, friends, co-workers, and neighbors for recommendations.
5. Use the internet wisely.
The internet can be a valuable resource and provide important information. You can use it to look up symptoms, find possible diagnoses, read the latest studies, and learn about treatment recommendations. You can discuss your findings with your doctor so the two of you can work together to provide you with the best healthcare. You should not, however, let the internet replace your physician. While the internet could lead you to finding a second opinion, it cannot evaluate you as a unique individual. It is important to have a physician you can trust as not everything you read on the internet is true.
6. Get a second opinion.
Each doctor has a different background and skill level, so two different physicians may see things completely differently. You owe it to yourself to get a second opinion before making a major surgical or treatment decisions. Having a second opinion can help you be sure you have been given the correct diagnosis so you can make the best decisions for yourself.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission from 6 Tips for Help with GYN Diagnosis.