How Can I Prepare for my Mammogram?

When it comes to a mammogram, a little preparation goes a long way.

Whether this is your first mammogram or one of many annual exams, here are a few guidelines to remember. Go stress-free into your appointment with these helpful tips.

Schedule smart. When planning your appointment, select a date that is at least one week after your period begins when your breasts will feel less tender. If you prefer a female technician, specify this when you call. Prior to your appointment, pack any past mammogram records, along with your doctor's referral, so you will be sure to have everything handy during your visit.

Avoid caffeine. Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet two days or more leading up to your mammogram. For women with fibrocystic breasts, caffeine can make them feel tender.

Skip the deodorant. Aluminum particles in perfume, powders and deodorants may appear on the mammogram image, making the results harder to interpret. If you are heading back to work, remember to bring your deodorant along to apply afterwards.

Dress right. A top and pants combo, rather than a dress, will keep you comfortable from the waist down during the mammogram. You will need to remove necklaces and earrings, so have a safe place to store them during your visit.

Be conversation ready. Have you experienced any breast discomfort in the last year? Describing symptoms will assist the technician conducting the exam. Your technician may also need to know what medication you are currently taking and in what dosage.

Consider pain medication. If you have experienced discomfort during past exams, an over-the-counter pain reducer such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may provide relief if taken about an hour before the mammogram. Consult your physician immediately if you experience acute pain.

Learn more about mammograms by visiting our Health Library. When you are ready to schedule you mammogram, please call our partners at Solis Women's Health at (940) 382-5400. For a physician referral, please call 1-855-477-DRMC.

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