7 Ways to Prepare For First Endometriosis Specialist Appointment
Diagnosis. Treatment. Surgery. Many Topics May Be Discussed At Your Visit
An endometriosis specialist appointment is not something you do every day (although sometimes it might feel like all day while you’re waiting there). However, the time you get to talk with the doctor may be pretty short. During that moment of consultation with the endometriosis (endo) specialist, you might feel brain fogged or bombarded. Whether it’s the diagnosis, treatment, surgery, pain management, or an endometriosis symptom you want to bring up, it’s easy to forget an essential topic while you’re there.
To make the most out of your initial endometriosis specialist appointment with an endometriosis specialist, we’ve made a list of seven ways you can prepare for the visit. First, we will give a short description of what endometriosis is.
Endometriosis is a female medical disorder in which tissue similar to the endometrium (tissue that lines the walls of the uterus) grows outside the uterus. This endometriosis tissue can grow on the surface of the uterus, ovaries, intestines, fallopian tubes, bladder, or other organs in the body.
During menstruation, this tissue releases blood, and it sloughs off. However, this blood and tissue often remain trapped with no way to escape the body. This increased pressure can result in moderate to severe pain, among other symptoms. If you want to learn more about endometriosis and get a general background on the condition, read our article, “Endometriosis 101: Covering the Basics.”
Why You Are Here
People of various ages and demographics are subject to this often debilitating inflammatory pelvic disorder. Whether you have confirmed the diagnosis of endometriosis or if you need surgery to verify its presence and remove lesions – these suggestions can help you prepare for the endometriosis specialist appointment. There are many stages of endometriosis. Whether you’ve got into a specialist early on your journey or later, the important thing is that you are here now – exploring treatment options.
7 Ways to Prepare for Endometriosis Specialist Appointment
Once you have found an experienced endometriosis specialist, it’s essential to prepare yourself for the doctor’s appointment ahead of time. There is no concrete test to diagnose endometriosis (outside of surgery). Therefore, it’s imperative to have a solid understanding of the signs and symptoms of endo and detailed accounts of your own experience ready. Simple things such as medical records or journals that list all your endometriosis symptoms are a vital arsenal that will help you and your doctor determine your treatment plan.
1. Gather Your Records.
Unfortunately, most people with endometriosis have had many doctor appointments before seeing an endometriosis specialist. Therefore, you should have some medical records for them to review during your first appointment with an endo specialist. Gather everything from your regular medical history from your general practitioner to your OB/GYN records, testing, imaging, blood work, etc. Even if you think the particular doctor appointment or medical history is insignificant, you might be surprised by the various conditions linked to endometriosis. Bring it all. This information could play a vital role in your endometriosis treatment.
2. Keep a Journal of Endometriosis Symptoms/Pain.
Write down all the possible endo signs and symptoms you’ve had leading up to the doctor’s appointment. If you get a visit scheduled, and it’s a couple of weeks out, start the journal at that time, but also include the signs and symptoms you’ve experienced leading up to that point. Then, from that date until your appointment, write down all the different types of symptoms you experience. Include everything, even if you don’t think it’s relevant, like colds, headaches, stomach issues, shortness of breath, chest pain, etc. Also, be sure to include your emotions and feelings because endometriosis can significantly impact mental health and can lead to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Emotions and mental health are essential as you might want to include a counselor as part of your holistic endometriosis treatment team.
3. Bring This Printable Guide.
At endometriosis.org, they’ve created a convenient guide that can help you describe your symptoms and know what to ask your endometriosis specialist. Click here for the PDF. Please print it out and answer all the questions. Bring this with you to your doctor’s appointment to help specifically describe your endometriosis pain and other symptoms.
4. Take All Your Medications With You.
The importance of this cannot be understated. Even if you have a medication reconciliation (also known as a “med rec” for short) from your doctor, it’s important to realize those are not always up-to-date with everything you take. This inconsistency is especially true if you are on medications from multiple specialists or take supplements as well. The best way for your endo specialist to have a complete picture of all the medicines you are currently taking is by bringing them with you to the doctor’s appointment. You should include any supplements or over-the-counter medications. Bring in the physical bottles along with any medication history records.
5. Prepare Yourself Mentally.
Go into the appointment with the bold mindset that you will ask every single question you have to gain clarity on your endometriosis diagnosis and treatment options. Endometriosis is an aggressive inflammatory disorder that can have a devastating impact on your quality of life. It would help if you carried an even more aggressive attitude toward trying to stop it dead in its tracks.
6. Bring a List of Questions.
What’s been bothering you the most? Pain? Bowel symptoms? Bring a list of all the important questions that you want answers to. Writing them down will help you not forget during the appointment. Furthermore, when the doctor sees you have a list of questions you want answers to, it makes it harder for them to get up and walk out of the room like the appointment is over. If something like that has ever happened to you, we are sorry you’ve experienced this. That’s why it’s crucial to find a vetted endometriosis expert.
7. Take a Support Person With You.
Finding a good endo expert is no easy task (unless you use iCareBetter to connect you to one). If you are the type of person who is a bit shy or feels intimidated, you should bring your best support person to the appointment with you. Even if you are not nervous about your first endometriosis specialist appointment, having someone you trust by your side can help you process the information and encourage you along your journey. If no one you would like to accompany you, consider bringing a recorder and taping the visit. Because this can help you go back later and make sure you’ve understood all the information. Most doctors will have no qualms about recording your visit.
We Want to Hear From You
Have you been to an endometriosis specialist (OB-GYN experienced in endo)? If so, is there anything you wished you would have done differently? If you’ve not been to an endo specialist yet, what is your biggest concern about the first doctor visit?