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Questions You Can Ask Your Doctor

You're probably used to answering your doctor's questions, not asking your own. But you can ask questions too. In fact, you should. It’s your body.

The questions you ask often depend on the reason you’re seeing your doctor. 

Questions to Ask About a Health Problem

If you go to your doctor about a health problem, it’s good to ask: 

  • What’s the name of my health problem?
  • Can you explain it to me in a few words?
  • What do I need to do to get better?
  • What medicine or treatment do I need to take?
  • What happens if I don’t take them?

You’ll want to be sure that you know the answers when you leave the office after your visit.

Asking your doctor the right questions — and remembering the answers — can sound easier that it is. Most people find they don’t remember much of what a doctor said after they leave the visit. That’s why it’s a good idea to use your phone to take notes. Or you can ask your doctor to write it down for you.

It takes practice to ask good health questions and to listen to absorb the answers. You’ll get better as you try.

You might want to know: Is my health problem serious? Can I get better? Can I give it to others? If you do, just ask.

You can ask the doctor to repeat what they said.

As your doctor or nurse answers your questions, let them know if you don’t understand something. It’s OK to ask them to pause and go over something again.

For example:

  • Can you explain that? I’m not sure I understand.
  • Could you repeat that?

Ask about medicines.

If your doctor prescribes a medicine, ask questions to make sure you know how and when to take it.

You can also ask:

  • What if I miss a dose?
  • If I’m feeling better, can I stop taking it?
  • Does this medicine have side effects?

Your doctor's office might give you a handout with instructions. Be sure to look at it when you get home. This helps you review what you talked about in the visit. If you have questions, call the office and ask.

Questions to Ask During a Checkup

A health checkup is a great time to ask any questions that might be on your mind. Often doctors and nurses bring up topics that matter to people your age. When they raise a topic, it can prompt you to ask questions too.

Depending on your age, doctors and nurses might talk about puberty, growth, or body changes — and the emotions that go with them. They can explain what’s expected for your age. This helps you know everything’s going well. And it can give you a chance to ask questions.

People ask all kinds of questions. It's OK to ask things like: 

  • Is this normal? Am I OK? 
  • What if I have feelings that are different from other people my age? 
  • How do people my age know if they’re gay or straight? 
  • Will I get taller? 
  • Is my weight OK for my age and height?    

Your doctor might talk about smoking, alcohol, screen time, or driving. They can tell you how these things affect people your age and help you think through how to stay safe and healthy. 

Maybe you have questions like these: 

  • I know they say too much screen time is bad for you. But it just seems like something my parents tell me to get me off my phone. Is it really that bad?
  • Don’t most people my age try alcohol?
  • Can I get your advice on how to go to a party and not drink?
  • Is vaping better than smoking cigarettes?
  • Anything I should know about driving and distractions with my ADHD?

These are just a few of the health topics your doctor is prepared to talk about with you. But you don’t have to wait for them to bring up these topics — or other topics you’re curious about. You can just ask. You can learn a lot by asking questions. The doctors and nurses who care for you are ready to give you expert answers.

Reviewed by: Maria E. Petrini, MD
Date Reviewed: Feb 10, 2022

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