How to talk to your doctor

Visiting the doctor is an experience that many people dread, but if you're feeling unwell or have any health concerns, there's no excuse for avoiding a trip to your GP. Shake off the awkwardness of the experience and become an active member of your healthcare team by reading up on how to talk to your doctor, or follow these quick tips.

Bring someone with you for support

If you're nervous about going to the doctor alone or if you feel that bringing someone with you will help, then do it. You can also ask for a chaperone from the surgery to be present throughout your appointment if you feel that it's necessary.

Write it down

It can be easy to become flustered during a doctor's appointment and forget exactly what you wanted to talk to them about. To avoid this, write down your problem, your symptoms and any questions you want to ask the doctor. Bring the list with you and check off each point while you're in your appointment to make sure you don't miss anything.

Remember they've heard it all before

No matter how embarrassing, unusual or personal you feel you problem is, try to remember that your doctor or nurse will have heard about it a hundred times before. What may seem embarrassing to you will certainly not make them feel the same way, so why not take a leaf out of the doctor's book and treat your problem in a purely medical, impersonal way?

Ask more questions if you don’t understand something

If you’re not clear about what your doctor or nurse is telling you, whether it's about an illness you have or treatment options, ask them to explain it again. You shouldn't feel embarrassed if you don't fully understand, as your doctor or nurse will be keen to ensure that you know exactly what they're talking about.

Provide as much information as possible

When visiting the doctor, it's always better to give too much information than too little. What you might not think of as a relevant symptom could turn out to be very important, so describe your problem in as much detail as possible. It's also very important that you tell your doctor what other medications you're already taking.

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