Many have been there before–you’re in serious pain or have a new unexplained symptom. You bring it up to your doctor, who tells you “you’re stressed,” or maybe they blame it on your weight or period. You listen to their advice for a while, but nothing seems to help. It can be frustrating when your health concerns don’t receive the right attention. Let’s look over a few tips and strategies that will help you get your doctor to take you seriously.

Avoid Bringing Up Your Internet Searches

It’s common for people to search for their symptoms on the internet. While this isn’t necessarily the best idea for your mental health, what you really shouldn’t do is bring it up to your doctor. They’ve done a lot to get where they are, and no one who’s worked that hard wants to feel like you’re replacing them with a search bar.

Instead, come prepared with a list of symptoms, and ask them their opinion and general treatment options. In doing so, you’re making the doctor think by the book. This way, they have to look at you and your symptoms from a logistical and unbiased perspective.

Bring a Loved One to Your Appointments

Sometimes, it can be difficult to put your feelings and experiences into words. Bringing a family member or friend to your appointment guarantees that you have an advocate on your side and can prevent you from raising your voice or becoming anxious. Becoming emotional or aggressive will cause your doctor to shut down and, in some unfortunate cases, confirm biases they already had about you. However, bringing an advocate will keep you grounded and show your doctor that you’re serious, especially if this person has witnessed your symptoms.

Take Time To Repeat Yourself

Doctors are people, and they make mistakes, forget things, or can become overwhelmed with the amount of information on your chart. If they get something wrong, don’t be afraid to correct them. Consistently repeating yourself will bring attention to your concerns, creating a clearer picture of what’s bothering you. Doctors use the “teach-back” technique so that patients repeat the information. This helps them ensure that the patient comprehends and remembers the instructions, and you can do the same thing to your doctor.

Know When It’s Time To Find a New Doctor

Very often, women’s pain goes unnoticed and unchecked, and this extends into the medical field. Doctors can blame their pain or fears on menstruation, hormones, anxiety, being “overly emotional,” etc., which is partly why so many women prefer to see female doctors. Often, female doctors are more compassionate and understanding of the general experiences of women. So if your current doctor isn’t helping you, you may want to see a new one. Unfortunately, though, even a female doctor will sometimes brush you off or ignore your symptoms.

If your doctor isn’t taking you seriously, and you’re still suffering without any resources or diagnosis, it’s time to find a new doctor. Occasionally, leaving or threatening to leave is the best way to get your doctor to take you seriously.

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