It’s crucial to go to your doctor appointments as prepared as possible. Unfortunately, we have to be our own advocate even when we feel awful. To me, this means having a list of illnesses you have, a list of medications you’re taking (prescriptions, supplements, etc.), a list of questions to ask your doctor during the appointment, researching endometriosis and treatment options (or the illness and treatment options you are going to see the doctor about), a list of your symptoms, a list of tests or procedures you think would be helpful in getting you closer to the answers you need to feel better, what treatments you have tried that didn’t help, specialists you’ve been to, as well as any other information you think would be helpful.
Here is an example of what I took with me to my doctor appointment regarding endometriosis before I had my hysterectomy in 2014:
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Polycystic ovary syndrome
• Vitamin d deficiency
• Interstitial cystitis
• Progesterone cream
• Biest cream
• Vitamin d 5000 units
• What do my blood test results mean?
• Based off of what I’ve tried for treatment of endometriosis, what treatment options do I have left to try?
• Irregular periods
• Heavy periods
• Pain all the time that worsens with period
• Increased pelvic pain with standing
• Ovarian cysts
• Can’t wear tampons because of pain
Possible tests and procedures
• Bone scan due to Lupron and bone pain
• Excision surgery
Treatments already tried
• Birth control (Ortho Tri Cyclen, Natazia, Necon, Seasonique)
• Ablation surgery (2010, 2012, 2013)
• Colonoscopy (2010)
• Celebrex, Cymbalta
• Percocet, Ibuprofen, Tylenol 3, Ponstel
• Pelvic floor physical therapy
• Bio identical hormones
• Gluten free/dairy free diet
• Pelvic floor physical therapist
It is okay to question what your doctor is telling you. It’s your body and your right to refuse a treatment you don’t want to put into your body.
You can find out more in my book Living with Endometriosis: The Complete Guide to Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options.
Samantha Bowick, MPH is the author of "Living with Endometriosis: The Complete Guide to Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options" and upcoming book "Living with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency" as well as a fellow sufferer of multiple chronic illnesses and patient advocate.