You'll probably start by discussing your symptoms with your primary care provider. If you aren't already seeing a doctor who specializes in women's health (gynecologist or internal medicine women's health specialist), your primary care provider may refer you to one.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
- Make a list of any signs and symptoms you're experiencing. Include those that may seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment.
- Make a note of key personal information. Include any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications that you take. Include prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and supplements and note the doses.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who goes with you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Prepare questions. Make the most of your time with your doctor by preparing a list of questions before your appointment.
Some basic questions to ask include:
- What's the likely cause of my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What's the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have some other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and assess your hormonal status. Questions your doctor may ask include:
- What vaginal symptoms are you experiencing?
- How long have you experienced these symptoms?
- Do you continue to have menstrual periods?
- How much distress do your symptoms cause you?
- Are you sexually active?
- Does the condition limit your sexual activity?
- Have you been treated for cancer?
- Do you use scented soap or bubble bath?
- Do you douche or use feminine hygiene spray?
- What medications, vitamins or other supplements do you take?
- Have you tried any over-the-counter moisturizers or lubricants?
April 23, 2016
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- Palma F, et al. Vaginal atrophy of women in postmenopause. Results from a multicentric observational study: The AGATA study. Maturitas.2016;83:40.
- Bachman G, et al. Treatment of vaginal atrophy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 17, 2016.
- Goldman L, et al., eds. Menopause. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 17, 2016.
- Menopausal symptoms in depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/menopause/menopausesymptoms. Accessed Feb. 17, 2016.
- Thielen JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 23, 2016.
- Portman DJ, et al. Genitourinary syndrome of menopause: New terminology for vulvovaginal atrophy from the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health and The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2014;21:1063.