Knowledge is power when it comes to taking charge of your reproductive and breast health. To get the most out of your appointments, you should have an open and honest exchange with your healthcare provider—and that requires a little prep work on your part.
First, keep in mind that not discussing the concerns or changes you’re noticing in your body because you’re embarrassed, could actually harm your health. Many conditions or diseases may not show symptoms right away. And certain cancers—such as breast or cervical—have a higher chance of being treated successfully if they are detected early.
Still, it can be difficult to jump right into a frank discussion about your reproductive and sexual health. That’s why it’s a good idea to write down questions ahead of time to read, or even hand to your healthcare provider to review and then discuss.
What to ask?
Topics for questions you might want to talk about include:
- Concerns about your menstrual cycles
- Contraception and family planning
- Questions about sexually transmitted diseases or other facets of your reproductive health, including mental health or sexual dysfunction
Your doctor can also advise you on current national recommendations for Pap, pelvic and breast exams.
Don’t just make an appointment when you’re not feeling well. Take charge of your health by scheduling a wellness visit. This is your opportunity to begin the open communication that can help ensure your overall health and well-being—mind, body and spirit—for a lifetime.
Sources: ACOG.org, MedlinePlus.gov