Our resident period coach Katherine Glyde shares her expert tips on how to speak to a Doctor if you suspect you have endometriosis.
If you suspect you have endometriosis, going to the doctor can be overwhelming – especially if you’ve been trying to get a diagnosis for a long time. Here are some tips to help make this process a little bit easier for you.
Do your research before your appointment
We have access to an incredible healthcare system in the UK, but GPs are General Practitioners who all have different specialties and interests. It can be frustrating to hear but not all GPs are aware of endometriosis and how to support patients with it. Going into your appointment with an accurate definition of what endometriosis is and how it is impacting you daily will help you get your needs met. Make sure you are using reputable sources; Endometriosis UK have resources available and the NICE guidelines on endometriosis are a great starting point to getting the support you need.
It will help your doctor to help you if you go into the appointment ready to paint a clear picture of what you are currently experiencing and what you would like to get from the appointment.
Take supporting information with you
A great tip is to take with you a log of symptoms from a diary or from your period tracking app. It’s advisable to also take details of any medications, family history and previous medical history. Take in as much information that you can access if you suspect you have Endometriosis.
The idea here is that you are giving your doctor the information they need so they can signpost and support you accurately. The NICE guidelines on endometriosis show what pathways to care should be for those with the condition. If your doctor is unaware of endometriosis or if hesitant to treat it (and you meet the criteria the guidelines for referral) do signpost your doctor to the guidelines.
Conversations with doctors can be uncomfortable and upsetting to have. It’s important to be as open and honest as you can about what’s happening for you. Depending on where you go to be seen you might be asked to have an examination. If you would feel more comfortable having the conversation with a specific doctor then you can ask. You can also ask to have a chaperone in the room with you. Speak to the reception team when you book the appointment.
Attend with a family member, friend, or partner
On that note, consider taking someone you trust to your appointment with you. Not only will they support you, but you will also have an extra person in the room listening to what’s being said. They can also advocate for you if you need it. Taking someone who sees first-hand the impact your symptoms are having on your quality of life will help you explain to the doctor why you need support.
Seek a second opinion if required
If for any reason you aren’t satisfied with the support received, you can seek a second opinion if you suspect you have Endometriosis. See another doctor within your GP Practice or book an appointment with a different healthcare provider. Your GP Practice or the NHS website will have the information about how you can do that.
Finally, do make sure you make it clear what your expectations are for your appointment. Let your doctor know if you are looking for treatment options, referrals etc. Know that your doctor may not be able to meet your expectations in one appointment. It might take a little while to get you exactly what you need. It’s frustrating but be patient with your doctor and keep following up with them.
After struggling with her periods for a long time, Katherine was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2018 , After finding it difficult to get support she decided to create it. Katherine is a qualified Personal Performance and Life Coach, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Wellbeing Coach and Addictive Behaviours Specialist Coach. She uses all these skills to support clients on a one to one and group coaching basis. You can learn more about Katherine here. For more blogs on endometriosis, check out this one by Endometriosis UK.