Getting the most from your GP

We understand how difficult living with endometriosis can be, and we know first-hand deciding on treatments can be overwhelming at times. It's our goal to help you get the most from your doctor, along with the best possible care.

Having a good physician/patient relationship can go a long way in helping you get the care and support you need. Your relationship with your GP is important, one made from mutual trust and respect that can last many years.

If you and your GP don’t communicate well, you might find this can lead to an array of problems which may negatively impact your care. Some people may feel worried about bothering their GP but try not to worry your problem is too small. Your GP is there to support you and they simply cannot do their job if you aren’t forthcoming. 

Be prepared

Take some time to prepare for your appointment. You can start by writing down what you want to say along with any questions or concerns you might have and questions about referrals. You could also describe your symptoms using a symptom diary. Think about the outcome you want from your appointment (such as a referral to secondary care or access to support services). You may want to practise what you want to say to a family member, partner of friend. Avoid feeling stressed by giving yourself enough time to make your way to your appointment. Preparing for your appointment can help you feel confident and clear about what it is you’re planning to talk about.

Highlight helpful information

Highlight or print any information you've found to help you through your appointment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines covering the diagnosis and management of endometriosis. The guidelines also provides advice on the range of treatments available. 

Keep a symptom diary

Keeping a diary of your symptoms and their location can help your doctor initially identify endometriosis and where it may be localised to. It can also help you think about your symptoms and when and how often they occur. We recommend keeping a diary for a minimum of 6 weeks to show your doctor. It may be that you have waited several weeks to see your doctor so it’s important to be well prepared for your appointment.

Download our symptom diary.

Take somebody along for support 

Often when presenting abnormal symptoms particularly around menstruation, your doctor may advise you to have various tests and examinations. Sometimes these tests can be uncomfortable and intimate. If you do not feel comfortable attending your appointment alone, taking somebody with you can be both supportive and reassuring, especially if they are already aware of your symptoms.

Don't be afraid to ask questions

If there is anything you don’t understand from your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask your GP to explain things further and as many times as is necessary, until you gain a clear understanding. Most doctors will be happy to speak with you until you understand. Try repeating everything you GP has recommended back to them or better still, ask your GP to write down their recommendations on a sheet of paper you can take away with you. This can help avoid leaving your appointment feeling disappointed and unsure.

Book a double appointment

Most doctors usually offer a 10-minute appointment. If you feel you may need longer than usual with your doctor or if you worry you could run out of time, you can always speak to a member of staff at reception and book a double appointment.

Forget something?

Leaving your appointment with a clear understanding of everything your doctor has told you and remembering what you may need to do, such as scheduling further appointments and organising tests is important. If you leave your appointment feeling unsatisfied or if you have questions you wish you’d asked, don’t panic as you can always call reception and ask to speak to your doctor or you can schedule another appointment.

Seeking a second opinion

Its no secret endometriosis is widely under recognised and misunderstood. Many health care professionals are unaware of the signs of endometriosis which has often resulted in those suffering facing years of unanswered questions and untreated pain.

 

If you’re unhappy with the care you have or continue to receive, you are entitled to seek a second opinion. You can do this by simply asking at reception to see another doctor available in your practise, or you can join a new medical practise and you won’t need to provide a reason for doing so.

Below we have listed a handful of questions you might find helpful in preparation of your appointment. 

Prevention

What is my risk of developing endometriosis? Am I more likely to develop the condition if a close relative has it?

New diagnosis

How will this affect me, both short and long term?

New treatments

How will this treatment affect me? What are the common side effects?

Symptoms

I am having these symptoms, is it a common side effect of my current medication?

Fertility

How will my diagnosis and/or treatment affect my future fertility? When should I seek help?

Specialist centre

Where is my nearest endometriosis centre? Are they accredited? How long are waiting times? Does the specialist centre have a point of contact I can get in touch with if I need help whilst I wait?

Diet

What should I be eating or avoiding due to my condition?

Exercise

What type of exercise would you recommended? How often and long?

Support

What support is available to me?