(For many of us), having an appointment with a doctor can be a source of anxiety. LUNA has put together a handy guide to help you prepare for your appointment, relax, avoid overthinking and ensure you come away with the answers you want.

Step one: Prepare yourself as well as possible!

The history of your examinations and check-ups: your essential kit

If you make an appointment with an endometriosis specialist, it is because you have either had several examinations or analyses that confirm that you have the disease or that you are waiting for a diagnosis.

First of all, you will need to bring all your documents with you so that the practitioner can have all the useful information for the consultation: analyses, imaging, biological tests and old medical records, as well as the operative reports if you have already been operated on for endometriosis… All these documents in your possession allow all the information on your health to be available and help to understand your situation. Some specialists often ask to see an initial MRI or ultrasound scan beforehand. In case they don’t: you’re all set!

Your diary or notebook: very important!

Don’t hesitate to write down your symptoms according to the treatments you are following, or the period of the cycle you are in … or any other information you feel, it is important to report or that you wish to discuss with your doctor. This may guide your specialist towards a treatment that reduces certain pains, or help him/her to evaluate the effects of your current treatment, in order to prescribe a new one if necessary, following your discussions.

Similarly, as soon as a question comes to mind, write it down: on your telephone, on a Post-it note, in a notebook, or even on the napkin at your lunchtime meal, so that you can remember to discuss it at your appointment, and get the answers to your questions.

LUNA helps you:

With the LUNA Diary you can record, track and anticipate

—Your period

—Your ovulation day

—Your fertility period

—Your symptoms

—Your treatments

A reminder of how your appointment will go

First of all, a reminder about consent: there is no obligation to accept any request made by a doctor in consultation. If you do not feel comfortable or if you do not wish to undergo a particular examination, you still have a choice. It is your body, you decide. A doctor cannot force you to undergo examinations without asking your permission and without obtaining your oral consent.

Secondly, never forget that this appointment is for YOU. This is your time to express what you are experiencing, how you feel, and anything else you want to talk about. Certain aspects of endometriosis can be difficult to talk about, almost taboo, but you should not hesitate to talk about them: endometriosis specialists are familiar with all the symptoms, and are in no way there to judge or make you feel uncomfortable. Hiding symptoms or unfortunate experiences that have happened to you could make the diagnosis more difficult, or even falsify it. And that is something we want to avoid at all costs!

Be confident in yourself and in what you feel:

—This is the best way to ensure that the appointment goes smoothly,

—And that you get the answers you need to access appropriate care on a daily basis.

It is also important to remember that you must express your wishes and priorities to your practitioner. Indeed, the treatment will depend on your problems: your pain, infertility, a desire for pregnancy, immediate or delayed, the number of children you want, whether you prefer a surgical or MAP approach, etc.

This is not a malignant pathology, so indicating all your wishes will allow for a more suitable treatment.

After the appointment

Sometimes the specialist you went to see may not have been able to answer all your questions about your diagnosis. Some of them collaborate with algologists, doctors specialized in pain. These consultations can be beneficial, and are often very educational. They aim to help you understand each of your individual pains and their origins. Understanding is a crucial first step to living better with endometriosis on a daily basis. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor, who will be able to refer you to these specialists.

It may also happen that the specialist you have met is not suitable for you. So yes, there are few endometriosis specialists or gynecologists who know all the ins and outs of this disease (even if the number is increasing and fortunately!), but you have the choice. Don’t hesitate to ask around to find one that suits you better, through patient associations, for example. After all, we are used to it: you don’t find your dentist or dermatologist at first sight: for endometriosis, it’s exactly the same.

For those who feel confident from the first appointment, all you have to do is follow the recommendations he or she has given you. And don’t forget to make regular appointments to check that the prescribed treatments are working and that they are suitable for you, and if necessary, to discuss with your doctor about finding another one that is more suitable for your symptoms.

LUNA helps you:

With your LUNA Evaluation and LUNA and Me, identify and analyze your pain profile. Evaluate and visualize their evolution regularly thanks to curves and graphs, and find all the advice from LUNA to take care of yourself and gain ground on the disease!


Conclusion

The medical consultation is a crucial moment in the management of endometriosis. It allows you to plan your treatment in order to reduce your symptoms as much as possible. Thus, many appointments are often necessary before making a decision on the treatment to be followed, and additional examinations are often recommended to avoid complications before an operation, for example.



Co-authored and scientifically validated by Dr. Jean-Philippe Estrade,

Gynecological and obstetrical surgeon, experts in endometriosis at the Clairval Private Hospital and the Bouchard Clinic, in Marseille.

And by Pr Charles Chapron,

Head of the Gynecology and Obstetrics II and Reproductive Medicine Department at the Hôpital Cochin in Paris


Read also: LUNA Explains: Pain In Endometriosis