How often do you see your GP? If you’re anything like me you save up visits for when you’ve got a couple of things on the list…maybe not the best long-term strategy. What’s important is that, in most cases, the GP (or General Practitioner) is your first line of defense when it comes to overall health and, like all the other specialists in your life, you need to find one that’s right for you.
How many GP’s have you seen over the years, can you even remember their names? I used to just take whoever was available until my university years when I discovered a on-campus GP who specialised in women’s health – this meant everything from acne to PCOS, sexual to reproductive health – and I thought yes, I am a woman, this makes sense to me. And although GP’s are indeed great ‘generalists’ many specialise and it really is to your benefit to find them.
It wasn’t until I returned home from living overseas however that I needed a new GP. Where on earth to start? I asked around and no one seemed overly connected to theirs so, like all good health consumers, I shopped around. Now, a 10-15 minute window with a GP is kind of like speed dating; you’ve got to get to the point, fast. There really isn’t time for chit-chat and a cup of tea (although how good would it be if there were!) and so it’s a balance of what you went in for, how much else they want to know and how much else they can predict on the horizon for you.
I’ve ditched GP’s because I just didn’t feel a connection (pretty sure they didn’t go to medical school for this but for me, it’s important) and one in particular because every visit she reminded me that I was getting old (my eggs too), that I needed to find a husband and have children – I was 27, had just started working for myself and really didn’t need another person telling me this.
Then I found my current doctor. She was in the same practice as my ‘you need find a husband’ GP but what a difference. Warm, open, and genuine, I really felt as if she listened to me. Another women’s health specialist, we looked not just at today but the future, what health checks should be on my horizon and quite frankly, she changed my life. You see, when adult acne returned she didn’t just grab the drug book, she did a full medical and the results where astounding (but more on that later).
I realise you might not want a relationship with your GP. You are the gatekeeper to your own wellness but a GP can help you fix a broken lock in that gate and a great one should be part of your ongoing team of professionals. So if you’re not happy, ask around and don’t settle for anything less when it comes to health.