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How should I prepare for an appointment for perimenopause symptoms?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Before you have an appointment to discuss your perimenopausal symptoms, you may want to jot down a few details to bring with you. This way you have them in front of you when you are face-to-face with your doctor. Make a note of your history of menstruation, what age it began, your typical blood flow, and how often you get it.
 
If your periods are irregular now, track their characteristics. Are they heavier, lighter, less or more frequent? Think about how often you are having hot flashes, night sweats or facial flushes, if at all, and how you are able to cope with them. Check to see if you are having any vaginal symptoms. Does it seem like you are dryer, more irritated than usual, or having problems with sex? You may also want to make sure you aren't pregnant, which, though rare as a woman reaches her 40s, is entirely possible. You should also come prepared with a list of all your present and past health conditions and any prescription, over-the-counter and herbal remedies you are taking. This is also the time in your life when you should think about finally quitting smoking for good. Besides all the other nasty health problems it can cause, smoking can influence whether your doctor can prescribe hormonal treatments if you need or want them.

Irregular menstruation is a normal part of perimenopause. Before seeing your doctor about perimenopausal problems, track your menstrual period for several months. Make a note of when it begins and ends, how heavy or light it is, and if you have any bleeding in between periods. If you are having hot flashes or night sweats, write down how often they happen and how severe they are. Vaginal dryness can be a problem during perimenopause. If you experience discomfort during intercourse, or feel that any of your symptoms are more severe than they should be, mention this to the doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.