Is your doctor hearing you?

In a perfect world, no one would need to advocate for themselves, and healthcare providers would automatically know every single detail about you. Unfortunately, some patients—especially women—can have difficulty getting their concerns heard by medical professionals.

Studies show that practitioners can underestimate the level of pain reported by women. Moreover, because medical studies have historically relied on male test subjects—and because women’s symptoms sometimes differ from those of men—women experiencing such conditions as heart disease or stroke run the risk of being misdiagnosed. 

Having a plan in place now can help you get the most from your health care later. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind before you head to your next appointment.

01. Arrive prepared.
Be a partner in your own health care and come to your provider’s office with a list of any concerns or questions. If you’re experiencing symptoms, be prepared to describe them, how long they last, and any other factors that might help with diagnosis. And if you’ve received a diagnosis previously, inform your questions by learning more about your condition and its treatment beforehand.

02. Don’t downplay your symptoms.
When someone asks you how you’re doing, it can be tempting to say, “I’m fine.” But are you? Anything that’s bothering you is worth mentioning—and if you’re hurting, be frank about the level of pain you’re experiencing.

03. Ask for clarification.
If you’re not understanding what a provider is telling you, have them explain it to you in simpler terms. Ask for details. And come prepared to take notes.

04. If you’re not being heard, speak again.
If you feel that your concerns are being dismissed or misunderstood, be firm and repeat them. Doctors and nurse practitioners may be experts in medicine, but nobody knows more about what you’re feeling than you do.

05. It’s always okay to get a second opinion.
If you’re not satisfied with what you’re hearing from your provider, go ahead and consult a second health professional, or even a third. Either it’ll ease your mind, or it’ll help you arrive at a better solution.

06. When all else fails, move on.
If you feel that your healthcare provider is ignoring or misunderstanding you, it might be time to find someone who will relate to you better. Don’t settle until you’ve found the right partner for you.

Looking for a health network that sees the complete you?

Just east of Indianapolis, providers in the Hancock Health network are actively listening to patients and understanding them as complete individuals. To see a few of those patients chat about their healthcare experiences—and to explore our women’s health services further—head to


Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

Related Articles



From our Sponsors