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Is It Okay To Call Your Doctor?

By Expert HERWriter
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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

At what point is it important for you to call your health care provider? Is it when you’re starting to feel sick? When you’re starting to have irregular bleeding? Or may when you feel a crushing sensation in your chest? Trust me, definitely call your doctor with that last one. I bring this up because I am having more women attempting to "tough it out" and end up worse for wear by the time they make it into the office.

Last year I became really sick on a Monday. I figured as an adult in the medical field I would be down for a few days then back to work by Thursday at the latest. Unfortunately I was as sick on Thursday as I was on Monday. My non-medical husband kept encouraging me to call the office and get help yet I refused and continued on. By the time Friday afternoon rolled around I was miserable and on my way to the hospital where a very nice ER doctor scolded me for waiting so long.

Women often have so many other things going on in their life that they do not put themselves first. In fact, many of my patients report putting themselves dead last after the kids, husband, cat, dog, and fish. Why do we do this?

I want my patients to realize that it’s okay to call the office--that’s what we are here for. Don’t blow off little symptoms and hope it will go away because if it doesn’t or if it worsens then you’re going to regret it and I am going to act like that scolding ER doctor.

Commonly, women seem to down play things like persistent fatigue, hormonal problems, pelvic pain, stool changes, headaches, or joint aches. If you know a direct correlation to your symptom then it may be okay to wait (example--you ate greasy food and now you have diarrhea), however, chalking it up to "being older" or "having young kids" or "being more stressed" or "not exercising enough" does not take the place of a quick check-in with your provider.

What if you have a thyroid problem? An ovarian cyst? Colon polyps? Hemorrhoids? Rheumatoid arthritis? A torn ligament? You’re anemic? A food sensitivity? Too much testosterone? An infection? Diabetes?

And you routinely blew it off?

I also want to remind you that medical websites aren’t a substitution for a quick call to your doctor’s office. Even if you have to speak to an assistant or nurse first, who relays the message back to your provider who then relays it back to you…that’s okay because if the "relayed message" is GET OVER HERE NOW then you’ll be glad you called.

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I can relate to this issue- a few months back I thought I had the flu and didn't even consider going to the Dr- I thought it would pass- then I got a pain in my right side and ended up in the ER- turned out I had a kidney infection! I was really shocked, and realized I should have gone to my Dr. two days earlier....this type of experience makes you more aware of what your body is trying to tell you- you learn to listen.

December 16, 2010 - 2:04pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.