Ever left your doctor’s office with the feeling you could have got more out of your visit if only you’d asked the right questions? Dr Evelyn Lewin shares the questions your GP would love to hear…
1. Should I be worried about this lump?
Okay, so you may not have a lump. But you might have a mole you’re concerned about. Or maybe a bump, weird rash, or some other health problem.
Whatever it is, ask about it.
The thing is, your doctor can’t guess what’s bothering you.
So if you came in because of your cough, your doctor doesn’t know that you’re also concerned about that mole on your back… unless you tell them.
Sometimes patients say they feel ‘silly’ for talking about something so ‘unimportant’. But trust me, your doctor would rather know about the things that are actually worrying you.
2. Is there anything I should do to help prevent [insert health issue here]?
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. That’s why it’s important to bring up health issues before they become a problem.
Say you have a history of type 2 diabetes in your family. Asking your doctor what you can do to help prevent diabetes is a great step in the right direction.
Ever wondered how much blood you lose during a period? Watch Shelly Horton and Dr Ginny explain all. (Post continues after video.)
This is especially important if you haven’t seen a doctor in a while, or if there are any new health problems in your family.
3. Can you help me lose weight?
It’s no secret the weight loss industry is massive. Unfortunately, most of the get-slim-quick fixes are ones your doctor wouldn’t recommend.
While most people wouldn’t consider their doctor to be their first port of call for weight loss, they can actually help you shed kilos in a safe, healthy way. (Post continues after gallery.)
4. Why have my bowel habits/appetite/mood/sex drive/etc changed?
If you’ve noticed a change in the way your body functions, your doctor wants to know about it.
Once you bring up these kinds of questions, your doctor can then ask further questions, possibly order more tests or refer you to a specialist to work out what’s going on.
5. Do I really need to take this medication?
So you’ve seen your doctor and they’ve recommended medication. The problem is, you really don’t want to take it.
Instead of accepting the script – knowing you’ll never actually use it – ask them whether you really need it.
By bringing this question up, your doctor can then discuss whether they feels the medication is necessary – and if so, why – or whether you can try something else first.
6. What would you do if you were me?
When you’ve been given a diagnosis, your doctor’s role is to outline possible treatment options to you. These options will have different risks and benefits, pros and cons.
Sometimes, it can be hard to know what to do.
In that case, it can help to ask your doctor what they would do if they were in your situation. Their answer might just give you a new perspective.
7. Where can I get more info about that?
If you’ve just been told you have a health problem, it’s tempting to turn to Dr Google to find out more.
But by doing that, you’re likely to stumble upon pages that will freak you out, along with loads of incorrect (or out of date) information.
Before jumping online ask your doctor which websites she recommends for reputable health information.
8. Um, can you explain that again?
We’ve all done it: pretended we know what someone else is talking about when really it’s gone way over our heads.
Although it can be embarrassing to admit you have no idea what she’s saying, your doctor would prefer you ask them to explain themselves again - rather than have you go home feeling confused.
The truth is, your doctor wants to help you. So if you’re ever in doubt of anything – just ask.
What's your go-to question for your doc?