When it comes to going for regular check-ups, Australians get a gold star. Research from the University of Sydney has found that most of us visit the GP 5.3 times per year.
In her new book How to Get Your Mojo Back: Every Woman’s Guide to Health and Happiness, our resident health expert, Dr Ginni Mansberg, shares her insider tips on how to make your next doctor’s visit work for you.Tip 1: Find a doctor
Ask around. If someone has children the same age or goes to the same gym, they will probably know what will work for you – ask them if they have a good doctor. Also, speak to your pharmacist. They not only fill the scripts but chat to patients from all the docs in the area. If you’re a sports nut, head to your local physiotherapist for a recommendation. Physios see a lot of local people who have been sent in with sports complaints and will know who is a whiz at treating musculoskeletal injuries.Tip 2: Be prepared
Take your new GP for a road test. Book an appointment for something relatively minor and see how well you gel with them. Being in and out in five minutes is not a good sign when seeing someone for the first time.
Write a list of things you want to ask. I love a patient with a pocketbook full of questions because I’m confident we’re going to cover all of her concerns and she’ll be happier with the consultation.
Wear something comfortable and ensure ease of access. If I need to listen to your chest, there’s no point in you having to sashay out of a skin-tight dress for me to get there. If I need to check your ankle, then stockings aren’t the go. Easier on us all!Tip 3: Once you’re inside
Be honest. A survey by online medical provider Web MD found that 13 per cent of respondents had lied to their doctor while 32 per cent admitted to stretching the truth. We need to know if you’re seeing another doctor who is prescribing other medicines or if your naturopath has prescribed some herbal medicines – it all affects your diagnosis.
Don’t be shy and remember there is no part of you that I haven’t seen before. It’s better to get your haemorrhoids, your athlete’s foot or even your halitosis checked out than to sit on it out of awkwardness. If you go numb when hearing medical speak, bring backup. Someone else’s perspective might help you digest the advice.