It is important that your primary healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) know about everything that has to do with your body, your
health and how you feel.
Pain is Never Normal
Talking about things like vaginal pain, incontinence and other conditions can be embarrassing. You feel like you might be the only person with this problem or maybe you feel like everyone has this problem so you should just learn to live with it. The truth is, pain is never normal and your healthcare provider can’t help you or refer you to the right health professional if you don’t tell them there is a problem.
When you bring the subject up, be honest. Tell him or her that you are embarrassed about the topic, but you really want help. Tell your provider that you are having pain or
problems doing things you used to be able to do. This includes sexual relations. There is no need to be shy about talking about something that is a normal part of life.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
When you complete your patient forms, you may already be asked these questions already however below is a list of questions you can prepare to answer at your visit with your primary healthcare provider.
Tell your provider as much as you can about your symptoms:
- When do your symptoms occur?
- How long do your symptoms last?
- What makes your symptoms better or worse?
- When did your symptoms start?
- What have you tried so far to improve your symptoms?
Don’t be afraid to ask about your options.
Some providers routinely prescribe medications or make referrals to specialists or order tests. Before embarking upon any one treatment plan, ask for all your options. Then do some research.
Credible Research Sources
Look on the Internet, ask friends or family members, call specialists in your area (this can include Physical Therapists) and ask if they routinely treat these problems and what is involved in the evaluation process. Find out as much as you can about your condition and its treatment. But be careful about your sources.
The Internet, especially, is a wonderful tool for education, but be sure that you are looking at sites that are credible. Finally, remember that it’s your body and your health. You have to care about it first. If your provider doesn’t ask you about your condition, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring it up.
To find a Physical Therapist, please visit ptl.womenshealthapta.org. For more patient education information or if you are not sure whether you need a referral to see a physical therapist, please visit www.womenshealthapta.org/patients.