Write down your questions. Write down any questions you might have and bring your list with you, even into the exam room. You have a right and a responsibility to yourself to ask questions. Be sure you understand the answers clearly before making any decisions about your healthcare.
Write down facts about your medical history. If you have ever had a medical problem, such as anemia, abnormal Pap smear, high blood pressure, etc., tell the medical provider. The medical provider also needs to know if your mother took DES (diethylstilbestrol) when she was pregnant with you.
Write down the dates of your most recent menstrual period. Mark down all your days of bleeding or spotting. If you are having any problems, mark the dates you noticed anything unusual. Make a note of any itching, pain, spotting, or discharge that doesn’t seem normal.
If you are having a pregnancy test, write down drugs of any kind (even aspirin) that you have taken in the last three days. Some drugs interfere with pregnancy tests. Bring a sample of your first morning urine in a clean, sealed jar. Keep it refrigerated until you come in.
Avoid douching for at least three days. Your Pap smear and other tests will be more accurate if you don’t douche for at least three days before your exam. You must not douche if you are having an unusual discharge—your medical provider cannot tell what type of discharge you have if it isn’t there.
Avoid intercourse or use condoms for three days. If you have semen in your vagina, it may be hard for your medical provider to tell what kind of discharge you have. Also, semen might affect the results of your Pap smear or other lab tests.
At the Time of Your Visit
Bring your written questions with you.
If you are taking birth control pills, bring them with you. This helps the medical provider know what brand you are taking, especially if pills are causing you problems. If you cannot bring your pills in, write down the brand name and dosage level from the label: example, “Ortho-Novum 7-7-7.”
If you use a diaphragm, insert it before your clinic visit. Don’t use jelly or cream. Your medical provider may check the fit and make sure you are inserting it properly.
Before You Leave the Clinic:
Make sure you have written instructions for your method of birth control and any other medicine you have been given.
Be sure you know when your next clinic visit should be. We’ll be glad to schedule it for you before you leave.
For pill users…Did you read, understand, and sign your consent form? Did you receive a copy of the drug company pamphlet for your birth control pills? Did you get foam or condoms as a backup method? Do you have a list of danger signs for your method?
Call the health center nearest you for an appointment today!
A part of Finger Lakes Community Health. Supported by Title X Grant Funding.