You leave your doctor’s office with a gnawing doubt. She’s the one with the MD, of course. But something’s not right. Should you get a second opinion? Yes, say experts, and don’t think twice. A fresh perspective can make all the difference for your health. Here, a few good reasons to schedule another appointment.
1. There’s been no mention of a specific diagnosis. Even before your doc IDs your ailment, she should be able to tell you what’s likely going on—or at least the range of possibilities, says Leana Wen, MD, author of When Doctors Don’t Listen ($13; amazon.com). “If she doesn’t, that’s a big red flag,” she says.
2. Your own research doesn’t match up. Once you have a diagnosis—and you’ve Googled the heck out of it—don’t be afraid to question your doc’s conclusion. “Does it really explain how you’re feeling?” says Dr. Wen. Do your symptoms align with the descriptions on reputable health sites? “If not, talk to your doc— and if you still have concerns, see someone else.”
3. You’re hearing about only one possible treatment. “In nearly every case, there is more than one treatment option,” says Dr. Wen. “And sometimes a viable option is watchful waiting.” Your provider should present multiple alternatives, along with their pros and cons, so you can decide what’s best for you.
4. You just don’t trust your doctor. If you don’t think she’s taking you seriously, or if you have any doubts about her competence, find a different expert, says Health medical editor Roshini Rajapaksa, MD. “It’s your body, so follow your instincts,” she says. “It never hurts to get a second opinion.”