Out of all your relationships, the one with your doctor is one of the most important. If you don’t have an effective relationship with your doctor, it can lead to trust issues and even poor care. In order to establish a fruitful relationship with your doctor, you need to know how to communicate with them. If you’re looking to communicate better with your doctor, try the following tips.

Speak Up

One of the worst things you can do is not say what’s on your mind. Not speaking up and being honest with your doctor hinders quality medical care and sets the stage for worsening of your condition. Even if you feel embarrassed about the issues you’re having, remember that your doctor wants to help. In fact, there’s probably nothing you can say that he or she hasn’t heard already. Your doctor took an oath to help their patients and not pass judgement.

Ask Questions

The next step to having a good relationship with your doctor is asking questions. Doctors are trained professionals who know when something is serious and when it isn’t. For instance, if you need surgery, elective or non-elective, there are a few questions you should ask your doctor before deciding to have surgery. Questions such as “How effective will surgery be as a form of treatment?” or “What are the potential health risks am I facing?” should be addressed. You need to know all the possible risks and complications that go along with the surgical procedure. Questions show that you are interested in improving your health. This goes a long way to earning a doctor’s respect.

Do Not Mince Words

When talking to your doctor, don’t mince words. Be clear and concise with what’s on your mind and if you don’t understand, ask them to repeat the information. As a patient, you need to understand why you need surgery and what will happen if you don’t. Far too often, patients are afraid to speak up and ask their doctor about certain things. Some feel embarrassed and don’t want to take up their doctor’s time. Remember that you need to be your own advocate.

Make a list of what’s on your mind prior to your visit and make sure you feel comfortable with the answers you’ve been given. If you feel that the doctor has not answered your questions, don’t be afraid to politely address your concern. Finally, asking also helps reduce anxiety overall and helps build trust between you and your doctor.

When it comes to your health, be proactive. Communication is the hallmark of every good relationship, especially one you have with your doctor. If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable, or if you feel like you’re not receiving proper treatment, seek a second opinion.

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