How to Talk to a Doctor About Pelvic or Genital Pain
Talking to a physician about pelvic or genital pain can be uncomfortable. Many people feel awkward or embarrassed. However, talking to a doctor about medical concerns is important for maintaining good health. It is a physician’s job to listen and answer questions about any health concerns.
Pelvic pain is an extremely common concern; it can be caused by various conditions. Some of the most common causes of pelvic pain in women are endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and interstitial cystitis. Some of the most common causes of pelvic pain in men are prostatitis, cystitis, and urinary stones. It is important to discuss any concerning symptoms with a physician to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
Tips to help foster effective communication with a physician about pelvic or genital pain include the following:
Talk to a trusted physician.
Talking to a trusted doctor makes it easier to broach an uncomfortable topic. A primary care physician is a good start. For women, a gynecologist is often a good choice.
Keep track of pain.
Before an appointment, keep track of the pain.
- What makes it better or worse?
- How long has it been occurring?
- How does it affect daily activities or relationships?
Writing this information down and bringing it to a doctor’s appointment helps the conversation flow smoothly and ensures that important information is addressed.
It is easy to forget to ask questions during a short and busy appointment. Prepare questions ahead of time and keep track of the answers during the appointment. Examples of questions to ask include the following:
- What is causing the pain?
- Will over-the-counter pain relievers help with the pain?
- Are there self-care treatments that can help?
- Could the condition affect fertility?
- Are there any symptoms that could indicate a worsening condition?
Since various health conditions can cause pelvic pain, it may take some time to identify the cause and start the appropriate treatment. Several treatment approaches may be necessary.
Seek a second opinion.
If pelvic or genital pain is not adequately addressed, seeking a second opinion is recommended.
Although talking to a health care provider about genital or pelvic pain can be awkward, finding a trusted physician and preparing for the appointment can help. Pelvic pain is a common complaint and can be treated.