How Do I Get My Doctor to Stop Ignoring My Symptoms?

Nov 27, 2022

rec-flies-away asks, quote:

How can I get doctors to actually discuss important and difficult topics about my health and disability with me? What can I do or say to make them stop dodging the conversation by changing the topic?

end quote.

In my experience, there’s mainly two kinds of ignoring that doctors do to their patients: Ignoring alternative causes of a symptom and ignoring conditions they don’t fully understand.

Ignoring Alternative Causes of a Symptom

Let’s say you’re experiencing stomach cramps several times a week. Your primary care provider (PCP) is certain that it’s Crohn’s Disease, but none of the prescribed treatments seem to be working. Despite clear documentation of your symptoms, your medications, etc., your PCP is laser focused on treating your “Crohn’s Disease”. If that’s the case, you should ask “What else could it be? Even if it doesn’t cover every symptom?”

Ignoring Conditions They Don’t Fully Understand

Your PCP isn’t going to be an expert in every medical condition. And sometimes, doctors will choose to focus on what they do understand about a patient’s health and ignore or gloss over what they don’t. Admitting you don’t know something can be hard, especially when you’re trying to help someone. I don’t expect my PCP to have a good grasp on my hydrocephalus. For that, I see a neurologist. If you have a specific medical condition or set of symptoms that your PCP just doesn’t seem to want to focus on or doesn’t know enough about, ask to be referred to a specialist.