Getting Help for Perimenopause When Doctors Won’t Listen
So we’ve all been there haven’t we? Especially if you’ve recently sought help from your doctor for your perimenopause symptoms.
You’re emotional, feeling desperate, maybe even a little despondent. You feel like you’re going absolutely nuts, and you are certain you’re beginning to enter perimenopause.
So you pour out your little hormonal heart while your physician dutifully takes notes, nods his head, and responds with the occasional, “Um hmm.” Then he interrupts to ask your age, and a few other official medical questions. You answer the questions, and then wait to hear what you’ve suspected all along, “You’re going through perimenopause.”
Instead, what you hear is, “You’re too young to be in perimenopause. Besides, your blood work is normal. Have you been under any stress lately?” And there you sit. Deflated, your head spinning with confusion, feeling shut out, shut down, and politely pushed out the door with a prescription for anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this story from women. Hundreds? Thousands? Far too many to count, I can tell you that for sure. In fact, hearing this story over and over and over again, is probably the most single frustrating part of my job, and is exactly why I decided to enter graduate school.
I want to help women going through perimenopause with every fiber of my being. But, like you, I feel shut out, shut down, and extraordinarily frustrated with the way our medical system functions. Or more accurately, how it fails to function.
It seems that doctors just won’t listen.
Ironically, Doctors Leana Wen, M.D., and Joshua Kosowsky, M.D., agree and recently published a book entitled, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. I ran across the book several months ago, and purchased it with the intention of using it in one of my graduate courses.
First published in January 2013, it is a very timely book, particularly in light of the looming healthcare changes we’re all bracing for with the Affordable Care Act. It is not a book written specifically for women going through perimenopause. But, it is a book that women going through perimenopause should read.
With no promise of a more simplified system (Lord, don’t get me started), our ability to navigate the coming medical behemoth is going to be of the utmost importance in my view. Doctors Wen and Kosowksy tell us such things in When Doctors Won’t Listen as what questions to ask, how to be an active participant in our examinations, and how to tell our story so that our physician will listen and be able to understand. These will be the skills which will enable us to get the kind of care we need and want.
Like everything else I recommend, ladies, this book will not be the cure-all or fix-all in our medical system. But, it will give you excellent information “from the inside.” It is also my hope that it will help you feel less victimized and more empowered when you seek help for your perimenopause symptoms.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.