Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your first appointment will likely be with either your primary care provider or a gynecologist.
What you can do
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to prepare in advance:
- Keep track of your symptoms. For instance, make a list of how many hot flashes you experience in a day or week and note how severe they are.
- Make a list of any medications, herbs and vitamin supplements you take. Include the doses and how often you take them.
- Have a family member or close friend accompany you, if possible. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
- Take a notebook or notepad with you. Use it to note important information during your visit.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.
Some basic questions to ask include:
- What kind of tests might I need, if any?
- What treatments are available to minimize my symptoms?
- Is there anything I can do to relieve my symptoms?
- What steps can I take to maintain my health?
- Are there any alternative therapies I might try?
- Do you have any printed material or brochures I can take with me?
- What websites do you recommend?
In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Some questions your doctor might ask include:
- Are you still having periods?
- When was your last period?
- How often do you experience bothersome symptoms?
- How uncomfortable do your symptoms make you?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Does anything make your symptoms worse?
- Menopause. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/menopause.htm. Accessed Dec. 7, 2012.
- Innes KE, et al. Mind-body therapies for menopausal symptoms: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2010;66:135.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 6, 2012.
- Nelson LM, et al. Clinical manifestation and evaluation of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 1, 2013.
- Menopausal symptoms and complementary health practices. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/menopause/menopausesymptoms#hed2/. Accessed Dec. 7, 2012.
- Lindh-Astrand L, et al. Effects of applied relaxation on vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2012;20:1.
- Colpani V, et al. Association between habitual physical activity and lower cardiovascular risk in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women: A population-based study. Menopause. 2012;20:1.
- Warnecke E. What works? Evidence for lifestyle and nonprescription therapies in menopause. Australian Family Physician. 2011;40:286.
- Kelley KW, et al. Evaluating the evidence for over-the-counter alternatives for relief of hot flashes in menopausal women. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. 2010;50:e106.
- For better sex: 3 ways to strengthen your pelvic floor. The Northern American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/for-better-sex-3-ways-to-strengthen-your-pelvic-floor. Accessed Dec. 7, 2012.
- The North American Menopause Society. The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2012;19:257.
- MenoNote: Vaginal dryness. The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/publications/educational-materials-for-women/menonotes. Accessed Oct. 31, 2012.
- Welt CK, et al. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed Jan. 1, 2013.
- Welt CK, et al. Ovarian development and failure (menopause) in normal women. http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed Jan. 1, 2013.
- Marnach ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 7, 2013.
- Faubion SS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 11, 2013.
- Dickson GM. Menopause management: How you can do better. The Journal of Family Practice. 2012;61:138.
- Committee on Gynecological Practice and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Practice Committee. Compounded bioidentical menopausal hormone therapy. ACOG. http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Gynecologic_Practice/Compounded_Bioidentical_Menopausal_Hormone_Therapy. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.