“I’m sure it’s nothing, it’ll go away” is what I would say when people asked if I was going to the doctors to see about my skin. Looking back, I now wish I hadn’t put the appointments off and went to see someone sooner.
When I did go to the doctor and found out I had psoriasis, I had no idea what the condition was or what treatment involved. Over the past six years, I have visited a doctor or dermatologist pretty mcuh every three months. This is to talk about my psoriasis, how treatments are working, and if we need to look at anything else. I’ve learnt a few handy tips for preparing for your doctor’s appointment in my time. To ensure you get the most out of the time you have with your doctor, I have shared some on the key ones below.
Unfortunately, you cannot always ensure that you will see the same medical professional. Ten minutes is not a lot of time to explain your whole story and how you feel. Preparation is key to ensure that you don’t feel frustrated or helpless when you leave.
Make sure you see the right person
When booking an appointment, check if they have a GP with dermatology experience. One GP in my old practice had been a dermatologist and then re-trained as a GP. This meant she understood skin better than some of the others GPs and I didn’t have to explain as much. It did mean waiting a little longer for an appointment, but it allowed me a better and more instant outcome.
Also, if you would prefer to see a male or female doctor, ask. Make sure you’re seen by someone you will comfortable showing your psoriasis too.
Track your skin between appointments
Ever had a flare-up and booked a doctor’s appointment only for the flare to fade before my appointment. Tracking your psoriasis allows you to show your psoriasis has been between appointments. Let’s be serious, no one remembers everything and three months is a long time.
I take photographs and videos to show how my psoriasis changes between visits. Keeping track of flares that may have happened, how long it lasted, and the size and severity of the patches.
I also write down how I feel about your skin, my daily symptoms and any questions I have though of since the last visit. Key things I note include if there have been days when my skin has been especially itchy, red or irritated. Plus any other side effects worth noting, including how it makes me feel mentally.
Remember, your doctor sees so many people daily. They won’t remember exactly how your psoriasis looks from one appointment to the next. Documenting is a great way of showing how your psoriasis has changed between visits. Plus it can also show how different treatments can help or worsen the skin.
Remember, psoriasis affects everyone in different ways. By documenting your journey, you allow your doctor to see how psoriasis affects you .
You only have ten minutes! You want to spend all your time discussing your psoriasis with your doctor. Ensuring you dress appropriately to prepare for your appointment. If your psoriasis is not clearly visible, then it is best to wear clothing that can be lifted or removed to show the areas of skin.
Loose clothing means that you may not have to undress fully if that makes you feel uncomfortable. This completely depends on where your psoriasis is. With where my patches are, I have had to get comfortable with being semi-naked to show off my psoriasis.
It’s not only skin
Psoriasis does more than impact your skin . You may other conditions that relate to your psoriasis.
Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are commonly associated with psoriasis. When you talk to your doctor make sure you discuss how your psoriasis makes you feel. Talking about the effects it has on how you feel daily and your quality of life will help you get a plan that works for you.
These tips have helped me manage my time and prepare for my appointments. By feeling more prepared you get to make the most out of the short time you have with your doctor. I hope that they now help you.