record-keeping: the best tool in your health toolbox

29 Jul

It is sometimes difficult to keep track of everything that comes with PCOS. If you have a back problem, you’ll probably seen an orthopedist; if you have a thyroid problem, you’ll probably see an endocrinologist. But if you are diagnosed with PCOS, you might have an OBGYN, an endocrinologist or reproductive endocrinologist, a dermatologist, a psychiatrist and/or therapist, a nutritionist–and the list could go on.

That puts some of the burden on you to keep your information together and synthesize the material these doctors give you. If you have a good primary care doctor, that can help, as a good PCP can coordinate between other docs, but even then you will need to be diligent about monitoring your own health.

One way that you can do this is to keep good records. Some of the things you should keep include:

  • Your charts, if you chart your menstrual cycle. For PCOS sufferers, this can be one of your most useful tools. It can help you judge the success or failure of a treatment, among other things. I highly recommend that you keep at least a rudimentary chart. If you are trying to get pregnant, the full chart will help (your basal body temperature and fertility signs); if not, you might not want to mess with taking your temp, and instead just keep track of when your period begins and ends and any other signs that might tell you that you are ovulating.
  • Lab work. If your doctor doesn’t give you a copy of lab work, ask for one. Keep it and make sure it’s clearly dated.
  • Any kind of log that you might keep to track symptoms (for example, if you’re keeping track of panic attacks or if you are experiencing insomnia and jotting down the worst nights).
  • Your food/exercise diary if you keep one.
  • Notes from any doctors’ appointments. When you leave, write down what the doctor has told you and keep that record. It can help your other doctors too.
All of these things can help your doctors treat you better. You should be an active part of your medical team. You may place more emphasis on one part of this record than another (for example, if you’re trying to conceive, your main doctor may be an OBGYN or RE, and you may be more careful about keeping your chart), but all of these pieces can help your docs get a clearer picture of your whole situation.
I recommend keeping a binder or an accordion folder with this stuff in it. Keep it somewhere convenient so that you don’t forget to put stuff in it. You could also scan in the relevant stuff and save it on your computer, and then you’d have it alongside your charts if you use FertilityFriend or software for fertility charting.

2 Responses to “record-keeping: the best tool in your health toolbox”

  1. Kristin August 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    great site! is there a way to follow you? I have a PCOS blog of my own as well. Would you mind if I include a link to your site?

    • academama August 3, 2011 at 3:18 am #

      It looks like you figured it out! Let me know if you have any trouble. Feel free to link if you would like–I’ll check our your blog!

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