Seeing your symptoms diminish just when you see a doctor (and want to tell them about your health concerns) is not uncommon. Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens, explains this phenomenon to us which, rest assured, will not prevent you from being properly treated.
This is a common situation: while you were feeling unwell, to the point of making an appointment with your doctor, in the waiting room you no longer feel the pain, pressure, or fever that you was question… Which makes you wonder if the doctor will take you seriously. “This is what we call ‘the waiting room effect or the doctor effect, but it is known to practitioners and is based on several factors that we know how to identify today.’ explains Dr. Kierzek, TipsForWomens’s medical director.
Psychological and physical reasons which can be explained:
There are in fact 4 main reasons for this sudden improvement in your condition, which is far from rare, detailed by our expert.
- The effect of attention : that is to say that the simple act of going to the doctor can draw more attention to one’s symptoms. “When a person focuses more on their ailments or feels worry about them, they may perceive the symptoms to be more intense. Once at the doctor, the person’s attention shifts to the medical evaluation, which which can reduce the perception of symptoms”;
- The placebo effect : The simple anticipation of relief can have a positive impact on the perception of symptoms. “The medical context, including the visit to the doctor, can trigger psychological mechanisms that lead to a temporary improvement of symptoms”;
- Variability of symptoms : Some symptoms may be intermittent, meaning they appear and disappear spontaneously. “It is therefore possible that the symptoms had diminished naturally before the visit to the doctor”;
- Psychological influence : Anxiety or stress related to symptoms may be reduced once the person is in a reassuring medical environment. Trust in the medical process and interaction with the doctor can also contribute to temporary relief.
Doctors are trained in this
However, whether you have symptoms or not at the time of ausculation, this should not have any impact on your good care by your doctor (no need to cough harder or feign a high fever!).
“It is important to note that symptoms alleviated during the doctor’s visit do not necessarily mean that they do not have a real medical basis. Doctors are trained to evaluate symptoms thoroughly, taking into account the “medical history, physical examinations and diagnostic tests, to arrive at an accurate diagnosis…”
For your part, do not hesitate to collect the clues before your consultation: photos if it is a physical sign, notes on your symptoms experienced, and the times concerned, the influence of diet, periods of stress, etc. to provide all the information useful for your medical care.