If it doesn’t feel right, push back.
“There’s a power dynamic between patients and doctors that makes some people feel as if doctors are higher up on a societal hierarchy and somehow in charge of what a patient does,” says Heyman. “That’s not the case. A doctor should be a partner in a person’s health care, not in charge of it.” Going into your appointments prepared— with printouts of information and a list of questions—will boost your confidence and reduce anxiety, and may even increase your provider’s respect for you, he says. If you’ve done your part but still don’t feel like you’re meshing with your doctor, it may be time to look for another provider. A doctor-patient pairing is like any other relationship: sometimes it’s just not the right fit, says Sands. If you don’t have the option of switching—because of insurance or where you live, perhaps—try calling in some backup. “Bring your spouse or someone else who can help make sure you get all your questions answered and make your needs known,” suggests Heyman. They can help you understand what your doctor is saying, and provide emotional support if it’s nerve-wracking.