Whether you began seeing your women’s health provider as a teen or started with your first pap test at age 21, you’ve likely built close relationships with your provider over the years. But, with just one required visit each year, quite a bit can change in your life (and in your body!) in a short 365 days. That means, you’ll want to make the most out of your time with your provider. Here are four easy ways to make the most out of that oh-so-important annual trip to the gynecologist office.
- Write down questions beforehand: Planning to have a baby in the next year? Have concerns about your current weight, birth control, or even relationship? Your annual visit to your ObGyn is a great time to ask important and get some honest, educated answers from a provider who knows you. As questions and concerns pop up in the weeks leading up to your annual appointment, begin writing them down. Or, dedicate some time the week before your appointment to rack your brain and write down any questions you may have about past and future plans.
- Keep a journal of symptoms: If you’ve been experiencing any new symptoms begin a journal of them. Sometimes constant headaches are the cause of dehydration and stress, and sometimes, they might be a clue to something more serious. If you’re concerned about something in particular, logging your symptoms and diet into a journal is important for both you and your doctor. If you are an iPhone user, you can track your reproductive health in the Health app on your phone. For Android users, there are a variety of apps that can be downloaded based on your preferences.
- Make a list of medications: When you’re on the spot to provide a list of current medications, you might get a mental blank. Make a list of any medications (including supplements and vitamins) you’re taking to share with your doctor.
- Educate yourself: Does your next appointment require a pap test? Women ages 21-29 should get one every three years, and women 30-65 should get one every five years. Because a pap test can be uncomfortable (and cannot be done while on your period), it’s important to educate yourself on your own health history to determine if you’ll need one at your next appointment. If you’re not sure, just call in advance to find out.
What Happens If I Switch Providers?
A change in career, location, or insurance may force you to switch providers, even when you don’t want to. Before choosing a provider, you’ll want to do research to make sure that your new provider accepts your insurance and has a type of provider you want to see (such as a midwife). Keep in mind that it may take a couple of visits to health care providers to find someone you want to work with.
When switching providers, it’s important that you get your health records to your new provider. There are two easy ways to transfer your health records:Ask your previous provider to send your health records to your new doctor. A fee may be charged for this service.
When switching providers, it’s important that you get your health records to your new provider. There are two easy ways to transfer your health records:
- Ask your previous provider to send your health records to your new doctor. A fee may be charged for this service.
- You can actually bring your records to your new doctor! Your doctor can give you any past medical records, X-rays, and test results, or you may be able to print them from our online patient portal.