Getting the most out of your visit: Bring a list of questions
In the age of Dr. Google, it can be difficult to determine what’s real and what’s not. It’s great that we all have so much information at our fingertips, but the opportunity for misinformation is higher than ever. So, maybe in addition to googling all your questions, why not bring a list of questions with you to your next doctor’s visit?
This can be helpful – not only for you, but for your doctor too. Your questions may clue them in to something that they may not have known to ask about. And, you get the benefit of learning from someone who’s studied the human body for years – instead of being freaked out by what a quick internet search reveals.
Your doctor normally leads you through a structured line of questioning. This helps the doctor develop a plan to address symptoms or improve health. And while doctors are trained to notice symptoms of disease, they’re not mind-readers! If you don’t bring up your concerns at the doctor’s office, they may not get addressed.
Here are just a few benefits to asking your doctor all those random questions:
- Peace of mind – How good does it feel to have someone tell you that that weird thing is common and won’t turn into something scary? And if it’s not bothering you, we don’t need to worry about it? Pretty good, right? Asking questions at your doctor’s visit is a good opportunity to get some peace of mind.
- Early detection – Naturopathic doctors specialize in attending to small problems before they become big ones. At the same time, we are trained to refer to the appropriate specialists for advanced care or screening when necessary. So if you have a question about an unusual symptom, your ND can help address it before it develops into a problem, and also help connect you with the right providers if something serious does come up.
- Help get care for loved ones – Often, when patients love the care they get with their naturopathic doctor and have seen great improvements in their health, they wonder if their loved ones could experience the same benefits. “Can you help someone with… insomnia? Depression? Hot flashes? Gut issues?” The answer is “I love to help people with that problem” or “I don’t work with that problem very much but I know someone who can help.”
- Learn how doctors understand the body – If your question has to do with why a symptom is coming up, the answer will likely take you on a journey through your doctor’s understanding of how bodies function. Learning this can give you a framework for understanding symptoms and a better understanding of how to help yourself feel better.
- Clear up misunderstandings – Sometimes misunderstandings are revealed by the questions that patients have, and it’s in both the patient’s and the doctor’s interest to have everyone on the same page. So ask away!