Take an Active Role
In order for any therapy to be effective, you must be committed to following it — as directed — for as long as is necessary to gauge its results and effectiveness. Being an active partner in your treatment plan involves carefully monitoring your response to therapeutic drugs and treatments, and keeping your health care provider(s) informed of your progress. If you have a negative reaction to drugs or other treatment options, report it. You could be experiencing normal adjustment reactions or you could be embarking on a plan that simply doesn't match your body chemistry, lifestyle, or biological and physiological makeup. You won't know what's wrong unless you report the reaction to your doctor or practitioner.
You Are Your Own Case Manager
If you are using a combination of treatment options, make sure that you coordinate all of them with your primary caregiver. Maybe you've heard about the benefits of using biofeedback-assisted behavioral training to control urine discharge, and you'd like to explore that option. Before you contact a psychologist, physical therapist, or clinician to schedule a biofeedback session, talk to your menopause specialist about the process, to make sure biofeedback won't conflict with other treatment plans you're pursuing. Seeking a second opinion is fine, and often is a good idea, but remember to reflect on all the options you have been offered, and consult the specialist you feel most comfortable with about combining therapies.
When the Plan Isn't Working
Finally, don't remain passively disappointed with your treatment. If you feel unhappy with the health care you're receiving, share that. Your doctor, practitioner, or therapist can't correct a problem that he or she doesn't know about. If you're unhappy with the progress of your symptom-relief treatment, discuss your concerns with your menopause specialist. If you feel that your doctor or practitioner is not responding to your questions and concerns, give him or her an opportunity to discuss your feelings. Although you want to build and maintain a respectful relationship with your caregiver, choose honesty over diplomacy. Be very specific and open as you state your concerns, and listen carefully to your caregiver's response. If you can't resolve your differences, this may not be the right health care partner.
Instructions for putting together your post-forty health management plan appear in Appendix D. But for now, it's important to remember that active, involved follow-through is a critical component of any treatment and lifestyle plan you adopt.
Don't judge the quality of your menopause specialist by how often that person agrees with you. You want a health care provider who'll help you pursue treatment that's effective and safe. Find someone you can trust, then discuss your concerns and ideas with an open mind, and — if necessary — seek a second or third opinion.