If your main criterion for a doctor's visit is squeezing it in between
lunch and a 2 o'clock meeting, you may be compromising your
care. Research shows that when you get certain procedures can
affect their accuracy-and your level of comfort.
- Get a mammogram... during your period or the week after. A
study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
found that breasts become denser-or less fatty-during the
early part of your menstrual cycle due to hormonal fluctuations.
Dense tissue appears opaque on X-rays, making it
harder to detect small, early-stage tumors.
- Get a colonoscopy... first thing in the morning. In 10 percent
of cases, physicians are unable to complete a colonoscopy
because it's too uncomfortable for patients. But a new study in
BMC Gastroenterology found that those who underwent the
screening in the a.m. were more likely to go through the full
procedure (the entire colon is examined) than patients who
had one in the afternoon. Researchers say it's because the p.m.
patients were less likely to adhere to the daylong fast, making
it harder for the doctor to navigate the colon.
- Get a teeth cleaning... two weeks after your period. Your
teeth and gums become more sensitive the week before you
menstruate, according to Israeli researchers.
- Have surgery... in the morning. Duke University researchers
found that medical mistakes during operations are most
frequent between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and least common between
9 a.m. and noon, when surgeons are more likely to be alert.