Explaining your symptoms is a key part of getting the medical care you need. Understanding how to accurately describe your experience can help doctors diagnose any underlying conditions more quickly and efficiently. In this article we’ll go over some tips for explaining your symptoms effectively so that you can get the best possible treatment.
But first, let’s explore why it can be difficult to explain your symptoms in the first place.
Why can it be difficult to explain symptoms?
One of the primary issues that makes it challenging for patients to explain their symptoms is fear or discomfort in discussing them openly with another person — especially if they are of a sensitive or medically embarrassing nature. This barrier often prevents individuals from adequately communicating their health concerns, as they may feel embarrassed or ashamed about what they’re experiencing. It’s not uncommon for people who feel anxious or uncomfortable speaking up about such topics with others to instead brush them under the rug entirely, avoiding conversations with even trusted medical professionals about potential ailments altogether.
Another reason why it can be difficult for some individuals to accurately explain their symptoms is due to insufficient language skills regarding medical terminology (or general English). But remember that it’s ok to use simple words to explain how you feel and it is ok if you don’t know all of the medical terms.
When talking to the doctor, tell them how you feel and what your body is doing. Tell them if anything hurts, or if you have any strange feelings like feeling tired or dizzy. Tell them how long it has been since the symptom started and if things are getting better or worse over time.
What can you do to help make it easier to explain your symptoms?
1. Keep track of changes in your health
When going into an appointment, it’s important to be able to provide as much information about your condition as possible. Keeping a detailed record of any changes in your health – such as new pain points or strange sensations – will enable you to give valuable insight into what could be causing them and will help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis with ease. Additionally, having records on hand may allow you to connect patterns between seemingly unrelated issues, making it easier for a healthcare professional to find the root cause of each symptom experienced over time or together simultaneously.
According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Be clear and concise when describing your symptoms. Your description helps the doctor identify the problem.”
2. Record all relevant details regarding when symptoms occur or worsen
Making sure that you keep track not just of every one of your ailments but also when they appear is essential in helping healthcare professionals understand exactly what is going on with their patient’s bodies and why certain treatments might work better.
3. Practice explaining your symptoms
As noted by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, you can practice describing your symptoms with a friend or family member – or in front of a mirror. Remember to keep it brief and try to focus on what’s affecting you and why it’s concerning you.
4. Have an open and honest relationship with a trusted doctor
Confiding in your doctor is essential for them to be able to diagnose and treat you correctly. By being afraid or embarrassed to share information, you may unknowingly leave out important details that could lead to a misdiagnosis or treatment that is not tailored to your individual needs.
Being afraid of confiding in doctors can also prevent us from accessing the most up-to-date medical treatments and advice available. Doctors can offer proactive advice on how to prevent certain illnesses, especially those that may be hereditary, as well as provide guidance on how best to manage existing conditions. Sharing all relevant information with your doctor will ensure that you are receiving the best possible care for your individual health needs.
Furthermore, physician-patient confidentiality means that there is no judgment when it comes to discussing sensitive topics such as mental health issues or sexually transmitted diseases. Knowing that these conversations remain private allows patients greater peace of mind in terms of speaking openly about their ailments and lifestyle choices without the fear of repercussions or stigma.
All in all, being open and honest with your doctor is paramount when it comes to maintaining good long-term physical and mental health. Not only does confiding in doctors increase the accuracy of diagnoses, but also ensures that we are receiving the best possible treatment tailored to our individual needs – something which would not be achievable without fully disclosing all relevant information.