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Help! I keep forgetting what to ask my doctor

Feel rushed during your checkups? “Today” contributor Dr. Judith Reichman suggests a handy checklist to help you prepare for your appointment.

Q: When I go to see my doctor, I always feel rushed. I often forget all the things I want to mention during the visit. Is there a list you can give me to help me review all of my medical issues?

A: The list of possible medical concerns will obviously change depending on your age. However, there are some basic symptoms under a variety of categories that you can check off and either show to your doctor or discuss with her.

Here’s a fairly simple checklist for your visit:

Check the problems that apply.

General Health

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Increased/decreased weight
  • Change in appetite

Gynecologic Issues

  • Change in menstrual cycle
  • Heavy bleeding, painful periods, irregular bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Urinary frequency, urgency or pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Vaginal discharge and/or irritation or odor
  • Painful intercourse

Waist Up

  • Swollen glands
  • Painful breasts
  • Breast lump
  • Nipple discharge
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Waist Down

  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Change in bowel habits (such as diarrhea, constipation or rectal bleeding)


  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Excessive hair growth on body
  • Nail problems
  • Varicose veins


  • Flushes, flashes, night sweats

Obviously, you might have a specific symptom that is not listed above. But if you take this list and put in the appropriate checks, you’ll probably touch upon most of what you need for your visit to the doctor.

Dr. Reichman’s Bottom Line: A short visit to the doctor’s office doesn’t have to feel like a pop quiz on your personal health. Take this list, or one you make on your own, and use it as a resource so you always feel calm and prepared.

Dr. Judith Reichman, the “Today” show's medical contributor on women's health, has practiced obstetrics and gynecology for more than 20 years. You will find many answers to your questions in her latest book, "Slow Your Clock Down: The Complete Guide to a Healthy, Younger You," which is now available in paperback. It is published by William Morrow, a division of .