How to Talk to Your Doctor About Sickness



Doctor’s appointments are getting shorter and shorter, so it’s important that you go into each appointment ready to get the most out of the 10-15 minutes that you have with your doctor.

It’s truly a case of helping them to do their best in helping you.   A few things to make sure you do (and insist your doctor do):

  1. Prepare. Keep track of your symptoms and the times they occur, as well as listing your medications and homeopathic treatments. Be detailed!
    1. For example, if your stomach is upset, keep track of what time the stomach pain started, whether it also included diarrhea or vomiting, and what time of day you feel worst. These details can help the doctor know whether it’s something like a stomach flu, or closer to food poisoning.
    2. Don’t forget to also keep track of how you feel. Does your mood change? How so?
  2. Show up on time or early! Often, the doctors are on very tight schedules, so in order to get the most time with them, be sure you are on time or early. Even if you end up having to wait to see them, you can insist on getting the full time allotted since the lateness was not your responsibility.
  3. Have a list of questions ready.
  4. Do NOT be shy. Think of the fact that your doctor is trying to determine what is wrong and how to treat you, so they need all of the information. This includes the way things look, smell and feel. Talking around an issue is much less effective (and more frustrating for you both) than being direct. Worry not, your symptoms are not the weirdest or grossest they’ve ever seen. And knowing about vomiting, infections, weird smells or discharges are all important parts of helping them diagnose and help you.
  5. For a regular physical, be completely honest. Don’t pretend you’ve given up smoking or started that diet if you haven’t. You and your doc will work on your health together and the best step is to be honest and trust them. Although they will recommend you make healthier choices, if you aren’t.
  6. Ask them to write down treatment plans. Even if it is just a prescription, have them write down how often and what dosage.
  7. Don’t google your symptoms and then go to the appointment just to insist on a specific treatment or medication. Maybe that stuffy nose is just a cold and not a sinus infection, so an antibiotic won’t actually help. Maybe it’s clear that your headaches are related to stress or tension, so an MRI would be a waste of time and a lot of money. Be willing to work with your doctor!