You'll probably start by discussing your symptoms with your primary care provider. If you aren't already seeing a doctor who specializes in the female reproductive system (gynecologist), your primary care provider may refer you to one.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
- Take along a record of your menstrual cycles. Keep a journal of your menstrual cycles for the past few months, including first and last date of bleeding for each cycle, and whether the flow was light, moderate or heavy.
- Make a list of any signs and symptoms you're experiencing. Include detailed descriptions. Include even symptoms that may seem unrelated.
- Make a note of key personal information. Include any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications and the doses. Include prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who goes with you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Prepare questions. Your time with your doctor is limited, so prepare a list of questions to help you make the most of your time together.
Some basic questions to ask include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have some other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
Questions your doctor may ask
To start a discussion about your perimenopausal experience, your doctor may ask questions such as:
- Do you continue to have menstrual periods? If so, what are they like?
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- How long have you experienced these symptoms?
- How much distress do your symptoms cause you?
- What medications, vitamins or other supplements do you take?