Talking to Your Doctor About Uterine Fibroids
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You have a unique medical and family history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with uterine fibroids. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Do I have fibroids?
- What are fibroids?
- Do they cause cancer?
- What else could it be?
About Your Risk of Developing Symptoms
- Am I at risk for developing fibroids?
- What are the chances that my fibroids will cause symptoms?
- Will they go away without treatment?
About Treatment Options
- I would like to collect as much information about my treatment options as I can. Can you guide me to the best sources?
- What treatment is appropriate for me?
- Why do you recommend that particular treatment option?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What risks and side effects should I watch for?
- Will it affect my normal activities?
- Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
- What is likely to happen without treatment?
What medications are available to me?
- What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
- Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Can I pick the option that best preserves my chances of having children?
- Can I pick the option that prevents me from getting pregnant?
- Which options provide the greatest protection against cancer?
- Should I follow a special diet?
- Are there any dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
Should I begin an exercise program?
- What kind of exercise is best?
- How often should I exercise?
- How do I get started exercising?
- Should I stop drinking alcohol?
- If appropriate—how can I find help quitting smoking?
- How will my fibroids and their treatment affect my fertility and sex life?
- Can you recommend some support groups for myself and my family?
- What are the chances my fibroids will come back after treatment?
- How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
- What can I tell my husband, children, parents, and other family members and friends about my condition? Should I tell them?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- How often will I need checkups?
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp074.cfm . Accessed June, 30, 2008.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/ . Accessed March 2, 2006.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy . 17th ed. Merck and Co.; 1999.
The National Uterine Fibroids Foundation website. Available at: http://www.nuff.org/health_riskfactors.htm .
US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/default.htm . Accessed March 2, 2006.
Last reviewed June 2008 by ]]>Ganson Purcell Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.