Hello Friends of My 28 Days,
As women, you know how important it is to take care of your health, but what happens when something goes wrong that you can’t control, and you need answers? For women with complex rare disorders such as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), getting proper care can be critical — and often confusing.
If you or someone you know has POI, it is important to be prepared before seeing your clinician. This means gathering all your relevant medical records and any previous test results related to your condition. Going in prepared will help your clinician more easily and quickly get a better understanding of your medical history and guide them in making the most informed decisions regarding your treatment. Additionally, preparing a list of questions or concerns you may have about your condition or treatment options will ensure that you get all the information you need and can make the most informed decisions regarding your own health. Finally, bringing a trusted family member or friend with you to the appointment can provide emotional support and help you remember important information discussed during the visit.Make lists. Ask for answers. And insist on the necessary time it takes for you to feel seen, heard, and understood.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get the care you need. If you feel that your physician is NOT taking your complaint seriously, it is important to speak up and advocate for yourself. All too often this can be difficult to do “in the moment”. Insurance companies typically give 15-minute windows for appointments. And typically, that just isn’t enough time to explain your situation, much less get the answers you seek. Expressing your concerns and asking for more information about your condition and treatment options is a good starting point. If you feel that your physician is not listening to you or dismissing your concerns, don’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion or seek out a different physician who specializes in your condition. Again, bringing a trusted family member or friend with you to the appointment can provide moral support, a second set of ears, as well as serving as a reminder to advocate for yourself.
If your doctor is unwilling to discuss estradiol replacement therapy, it may be time to find another doctor. Failing to take estradiol replacement when indicated as a young woman can lead to several health risks, including a higher risk of osteoporosis, which can result in bone fractures and breaks, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, women may experience symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.Hormonal imbalances can also cause issues with fertility and menstruation. It is important for women to speak to their healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of estradiol replacement therapy and discuss any concerns they may have, when they need to do it – not when the doctor finally decides to listen years later. The best evidence supports the use of the NIH P-HRT (P=Physiologic) regimen.
Remember, you have the right to be heard and to receive quality medical care. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel that your concerns are not being taken seriously. Take care of yourself and your health, and always advocate for yourself when needed. Time is of the essence when dealing with complex medical situations. Put time on your side by standing up for the proper care when you need it.
Dr. Lawrence M. Nelson, MD, MBA
Director, My 28 Days® Initiative
President, Mary Elizabeth Conover Foundation, Inc.