If your primary doctor is a family doctor or general practitioner, he or she may refer you to a specialist (gynecologist) to evaluate your condition.
What you can do
- Ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as limiting food or fluid intake to prepare for diagnostic tests.
- Prepare a list of symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated, and the names of any medications, herbs, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- List questions you want to ask your doctor and be prepared to jot down the answers.
For vaginal dryness, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's causing these symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Are there any alternatives to the treatment you're recommending?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them so that you'll have time to go over points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:
Dec. 21, 2012
- What vaginal symptoms are you experiencing?
- How long have you experienced these symptoms?
- Do you still have regular menstrual cycles?
- How much do your symptoms bother you?
- Are you sexually active?
- Does the condition limit your sexual activity?
- Do you use scented soap or bubble bath?
- Do you douche or use feminine hygiene spray?
- What medications, herbs or vitamin supplements do you take?
- Have you tried any over-the-counter moisturizers or lubricants?
- Bachmann G, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of vaginal atrophy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Casper RF. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of menopause. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- The North American Menopause Society. The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2012;19:257.
- Bachmann G, et al. Treatment of vaginal atrophy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Fox R, et al. Treatment of dry mouth and other non-ocular symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Frequently asked questions. Women's health FAQ072. Your sexual health. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq072.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121214T1150341035. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- MenoNote: Vaginal dryness. The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/publications/educational-materials-for-women/menonotes. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Vaginal and vulvar comfort: Lubricants, moisturizers, and low-dose vaginal estrogen. The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/-em-sexual-health-menopause-em-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/vaginal-and-vulvar-comfort-lubricants-moisturizers-and-low-dose-vaginal-estrogen. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Cano A, et al. The therapeutic effect of a new ultra low concentration estriol gel formulation (0.005% estriol vaginal gel) on symptoms and signs of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy: Results from a pivotal phase III study. Menopause. 2012;19:1130.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ028. Vaginitis. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq028.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121214T1156584804. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Marnach ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 6, 2012.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 3, 2012.