When you talk to your doctor, follow these steps to make sure you and your doctor get the most out of your time together. 5 Tips to Open the Dialogue. Take a List, Make a List, Leave a List. Going to the doctor to talk about problems “down there.” “Even the most refined, mature adults struggle from time to time communicating about socially sensitive health issues,” said Jonathan Rippentrop, MD, urologist at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. We are a great first step. "Good communication is essential to help me find the sweet spot as far as treatment," said. Guehl said women can talk to their doctor about ways to strengthen their pelvic floor, but the main question to ask is, "How much does it affect your quality of life?" To do that, you’ve got to start with telling your doctor the truth, even when it’s embarrassing. 4. But "for many patients these may be novel in the context of a medical consultation.". In fact, surveys show that 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor or omitting information. Practice saying these words out loud when you re alone! "I have had patients who won't say much and even say, 'That's for you to find out,'" Hubbard says. Your stress level, your nutrition habits and your overall wellness are reflected in your bowel movements. Dr. Vicki is a board-certified surgeon who left the operating room to help families take the most direct path from illness to optimal health. Talk your talkUse your own words. They can become so painful you need, "Letting go of the idea that something is embarrassing is important, because the physicians are trained to handle all these things in a confidential way," Bernat said. Going to the doctor to talk about problems “down there.” “Even the most refined, mature adults struggle from time to time communicating about socially sensitive health issues,” said Jonathan Rippentrop, MD, urologist at Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. The thinking is that you will feel more comfortable filling that out, rather than talking about a problem. Most doctors will allow a teen to go to an appointment alone if a parent calls and gives permission for treatment. Think things like body odor, bad breath, hair loss, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or … It doesnt matter at all to the doc. Embarrassing health issues like hemorrhoids and problems "down there" can be awkward. But thinning hair, sweating profusely, vaginal odor—there may be some­thing going on that needs to be addressed. (In a recent Health.com poll, 47% of respondents said theyd ignored a health problem because of embarrassment.) Own the embarrassment. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do. Its not a date Its your job to be totally honest and open about whats going on, and its your docs job to be nonjudgmental about everything, Dr. Raj says: “This is a professional relationship. This will give your doctor plenty of time to address them with you. If writing a note or journaling about your medical issues allows you to better … Most urinary problems … Taking a short list of questions that really matter to you can be very useful. Tips for Your Doctor Visit. How to Talk to Your Doctor About Embarrassing Gastrointestinal Symptoms Prepare to tell all. Skip down the street instead of walking. People often lie to their doctor because they fear being judged. How to Talk with Your Doctor about Embarrassing Medical Problems. "At the end, I always ask 'Is there anything so far that we have not talked about?' Own the embarrassment. You can bring up the sensitive topic with them. … After all the poking and prodding that goes on and the probing questions you have to answer, there's not much the doctor doesn't know about you -- except, of course, for that one thing you're too mortified to tell him. Write down what you want to say ahead of time or put together a checklist so you can be sure to cover all your questions. Here are 6 tips that can help you talk with your doctor about embarrassing medical topics: 1. ). Speak your mind. Three Common Topics to Discuss with Your Doctor. When you talk to your doctor, follow these steps to make sure you and your doctor get the most out of your time together. Here’s how to do it. Say to your doctor, “This is a taboo topic in our family, so it’s hard for me to ask. Be a regularIf youre having regular checkups and physicals, youre more likely to develop a comfy tell-all relationship with your doc, Dr. Raj says. 3. Even though it’s hard, talk about the issues that are embarrassing or scary at the beginning of your visit. Forget About Judgment. Tell your doctor how you feel, including things that may seem unimportant or embarrassing. Think things like body odor, bad breath, hair loss, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other issues affecting your nether regions. Own up to your embarrassment. Some suggestions for talking to a doctor about those embarrassing situations are as follows: • Develop an easy rapport with your doctor - It is much easier to discuss any topic with your doctor when you have made the effort to establish a good rapport with him or her prior to having any problems. View your doctor as a comrade in your quest to uncover the source of your health problems, not someone who will judge you for your circumstances. Get tips on how to talk to your doctor about your health concerns. Be a regular. Instead of explaining what's going on in vague, socially appropriate terms, be direct and specific about your symptoms. “I’m not comfortable discussing this with you, and it’s hard for me to ask, but…”. Your doctor will not think less of you for asking an embarrassing medical question; in fact, your doctor with think more of you for overcoming your fear and helping you take charge of your health. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do. You may think a sleep issue is inconsequential, that it will pass, or that it's a simple … Even the best diagnostician needs clues. But if it matters to you and affects whether or not youll be able to say what you need to say, be prepared,” Dr. Raj says. The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. Its not a date. Imagine how each of these stories might have been different if these individuals who suffered in silence could have talked with their doctors. Notice that your poop stinks? To do that, you’ve got to start with telling your doctor the truth, even when it’s embarrassing. All rights reserved. It takes me a long time to pee and takes a while to start. He builds rapport. The doctor has to do this by law. As a member of the medical team, let me personally thank you for trusting CNN to give you accurate medical information. Do what works for you. Take notes about what the doctor says, or ask a friend or family member to take notes for you. Everyone dreads it. Take an embarrassing item to the checkout without a price tag. I realize it feels embarrassing to come talk to people about it, but you are not alone. Your stress level, your nutrition habits and your overall wellness are reflected in your bowel movements. “I can’t stop itching my crotch.” Letting your doctor know of a persistent itch, especially if there are … If you simply cannot talk to the doc while half-naked, ask to chat with him or her before the exam. Thankfully, hemorrhoids are not all that dangerous. Ask about the best way to contact the doctor (by phone, email, etc. You don’t want the doctor to … "Then when there are things I need to know, only then do I ask specifics," he said. Some doctors call these the "hand-on-the-door questions.". Go over your lists. So never be embarrassed on our account. Your doctor is on your side. If you find you really can’t talk to your doctor about your most private concerns, this can be a sign that it’s time to find a new practitioner with whom you can feel more comfortable. Talk to your doctor. Stay in your living room and still spike your heart rate. Speak your mind. Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT) August 29, 2017. Bowel movements: Your stool quality and habits reveal a lot about the health of your digestive system and can provide insight about other things going on in your body. Why Do I Need to Talk With My Doctor? After all the poking and prodding that goes on and the probing questions you have to answer, there's not much the doctor doesn't know about you -- except, of course, for that one thing you're too mortified to tell him. Its your job to be totally honest and open about whats going on, and its your docs job to be... 2. He says some doctors also try to work around this discomfort by having you fill out a survey before you go in to see them. Doctors are used to talking about all sorts of medical issues, even if you are not. You dont have to make steady eye contact, be superarticulate, or worry about what kind of impression youre making.” If you feel like youre on a first date—or if your doc is too handsome or too cool for you to confess something embarrassing to—thats probably not the right doc for you, she says. Talking about private health issues is part of going to the doctor. He starts each appointment with open-ended questions. Too Embarrassed to Talk To Your Doctor? If all that doesn't work and you still don't feel comfortable communicating with your doctor, Bernat has a simple suggestion: Find one you can talk to. “Like your mama always told you, wear good underwear and shave your legs. Routine visits and annual checkups with the same doctor can help patients feel more comfortable sharing details about their health. If you get a sense that your doctor is in a hurry, don't let that get to you, even if that may be easier said than done. That will make it easier to say them at the doctor's office. It’s normal if you have a little gas every now and then or burp after meals, we all do. And so has your own physician, she says: “Trust me, you cant shock your doc. This will give your doctor plenty of time to address them with you. The things that embarrass you most are often the things that most need to be discussed. Also, you may find it useful to make notes during the consultation so that you have a record of what the doctor has said. Forget About Judgment. "My patients need to feel like they can trust me to doctor appropriately," says Dr. Kapur. While you know you should tell your doctor everything that could be affecting your health, details that are too embarrassing often don’t get mentioned. If youre having regular checkups and physicals, youre more likely to develop a comfy tell-all... 3. Most doctors will allow a teen to go to an appointment alone if a parent calls and gives permission for treatment. And we cant help if you dont tell us about it.” Here, her top ways to make talking to your doc (about anything) easier. © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. In other words, a failure to communicate with your doctor can hurt your health. Get tips on how to talk to your doctor about your health concerns. Consider bringing a close friend or family member with you. I think I noticed blood in my stool. 2. The doctor will also ask why you don’t want your parents to know and may suggest that you talk to your parents about the problem. Diette tries to work around a patient's reticence. If something is too embarrassing to say out loud, its OK to hand the doctor a list of questions and concerns, Dr. Raj says. Your breath is deadly. Write down a list of questions and concerns before your exam. The symptoms of anxiety can be hard to detect. Admit that what you’re going through is difficult for you to talk about. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. Many patients are embarrassed about some symptoms, but doctors say they want to hear about it. “If something is different or doesn’t feel right, tell your physician.” Tell your physician if you are experiencing: 1. From easier cramps to a heavier flow, here's a guide on what to expect decade by decade. We're loving their inspirational, body-positive messages. But sometimes you really should talk to a doctor, even if it's hard to choke out words for problems like ", "It is so important for you to be able to talk to your doctor, because your health is at stake," said. Check out more advice from Dr. Gillespie on how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing health questions. Then there are the diseases you don't want to get because you are too embarrassed to discuss them out loud, even with your doctor. We've got the medical studies to prove it. In fact, Google stats show a disproportionate number of you type the word "hemorrhoid" into that search box, and come to CNN looking for help. Your doctor is not a detective. Say to your doctor, “This is a taboo topic in our family, so it’s hard for me to ask. How to handle a physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms. (CNN)There are the diseases you don't want to get because they'll kill you. Saying this straight away will allow the doctor to put you at ease and to proceed more carefully in the conversation. At first she told herself it must have been those beets she ate. Here’s how to do it. Its not like a first date. Really just that it's incredibly common, and it's not something you should be embarrassed to talk to your physician, about because we hear about it all the time. Thats one reason embarrass­ment should never keep you from talking to your doctor about anything, she says. And chances are, they've heard it before. Offers may be subject to change without notice. People often lie to their doctor because they fear being judged. Take a really long time at the ATM and talk to yourself. Go over your lists. Though you most likely aren't excited to talk to your doctor about … How to Tell Your Doctor About Your Embarrassing Problems 1. At Ask Dr. Nandi, we encourage you to be your own health hero. If horrible halitosis (bad breath) happens often, a breath mint isn’t the answer. Whats more, sometimes those strange little symptoms or moments really do signal that somethings wrong. Now that you're getting older, you may want — or be expected — to take charge of your … Bhalani says that this can be a safe way to bring up a sensitive topic and it will give your doctor an opening to start a productive conversation with you. Istockphoto, How to Tell Your Doctor About Your Embarrassing Problems. Find the right person to ask. Start by talking with your parents about things you'd like to handle by yourself, like making appointments, calling your doctor with questions, and seeing the doctor alone for part of the time. Everyone passes gas; its completely normal. Tell them it is your birthday. and that's often when I get the great questions," Diette said. Try these strategies when talking to a doctor about HS. Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin condition that can be distressing and difficult to discuss. Tell your doctor how you feel, including things that may seem unimportant or embarrassing. Doctors explain how to tell if you have a head cold or something more serious that requires medical attention, such as the flu, strep throat, meningitis, or mono. Visiting the doctor can be embarrassing, even under the best of circumstances. She said if you can't walk down the street without fearing a sneeze, it's probably severe enough for medical intervention. Here are the ones you need to pay attention to, and how to know if you may have an anxiety disorder. "I know that's easier said than done, but they can't take care of you if they don't know what is going on.". Start by talking with your parents about things you'd like to handle by yourself, like making appointments, calling your doctor with questions, and seeing the doctor alone for part of the time. "I'm petrified," the actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back. At Ask Dr. Nandi, we encourage you to be your own health hero. Then youre not just calling when something funky crops up. Tell your doctor exactly where you feel the pain. Prepare to stripNo matter why youre going to the doc, assume that youll end up in the paper gown. Go to a restaurant on your birthday where you know they will sing to you. Clean out expired products and clutter to make way for a healthier you. “Like gas. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You? Bring a support person. Visiting the doctor can be embarrassing, even under the best of circumstances. Even though it’s hard, talk about the issues that are embarrassing or scary at the beginning of your visit. Telling your doctor you have “abdominal discomfort” or “trouble with digestion” can mean a lot of... Add context. Her mother, Joann, had literally died of embarrassment! I call them the 5 Ps: Peeing, Pooping, Paying, Procreating, Psychic moaning. “This is a very common subject for me to talk about with patients, so there is no need to feel shy or embarrassed,” Dr. Florence said. 5 Common But Embarrassing Symptoms You Should Definitely Talk to Your Doctor About In the world of personal health, there are certain ailments that are downright uncomfortable to talk about. Here's why a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis can be so frightening. So be sure to be an empowered patient and take your time and advocate for yourself when you go in to get things checked out. He's mindful not to interrupt. Talk to your doctor. The realization hit Natalie like a ton of bricks. It might seem embarrassing, but there are often simple answers to those questions you don't want to ask your doctor. You Can't Sleep. "Find someone you are comfortable with. "People don't want to offend or hurt anyone's feelings, but medicine is a customer-based process," she said. The best outcomes occur when there's a strong therapeutic alliance between doctor and patient. It's essential so that getting information out of you is not a tug of war. If being half-undressed makes you uncomfortable, do whatever you need to do to get comfortable. ", By age 30 more than half the population will develop hemorrhoids, Only a third of hemorrhoid sufferers actually seek medical attention, People may be reluctant to go to the doctor because they are embarrassed, It could hurt your health if you avoid the doctor. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Let's face it; certain topics are embarrassing to talk about with your doctor. Credit: You may have an easy rapport with the nurse or physician's assistant at your doctor's office. Joann had noticed blood in her stool almost a year before she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Patients can ask for a trusted friend or family member to join them in the doctor’s office to provide reassurance and emotional support during the visit. Should I be worried? Not only is she Healths go-to doc for embarrassing questions, but shes heard everything imaginable in her four years at New York University Medical Center. Everyone dreads it. Try to describe the odor in detail. “ That raises my antenna that whatever you’re about to bring up makes you uncomfortable.”. “As smart as patients are these days, they dont always know whats normal or not,” Dr. Raj says. Here are 6 tips that can help you talk with your doctor about embarrassing medical topics: 1. When you were a little kid, your parents took care of things like scheduling your doctors' appointments, getting your prescriptions, and making sure you took your medicine. Sometimes he thinks it's easier for some of his patients to put things in writing, rather than say them out loud. Although at first blush the challenge of talking with your doctor about embarrassing medical topics seems simple enough, for some people, it can cause significant suffering. Embarrassing health issues like hemorrhoids and problems "down there" can be awkward. But if you say that you definitely don’t want your parents to be involved, the doctor cannot force you to tell them. 1. The veins near your anus or rectum have gotten, But sometimes hemorrhoids are beyond the help of home remedies. Some forward-thinking doctors will allow you to record the conversation. Write it down. You may think your health confession is unique or strange, but your doctors heard it—and worse—a million times.”. Some health concerns, however, feel a lot more personal than others. Imagine how each of these stories might have been different if these individuals who suffered in silence could have talked with their doctors. The doc doesnt care if you say, “I notice blood every time I poop” versus “Im experiencing rectal bleeding” or “It smells weird down there” versus “Im experiencing some vaginal odor.” Describe your symptoms or problem in whatever words work best for you. Then it will be the doctor prompting you with questions. "Asking questions, discussing preferences or disagreeing with a recommendation are communication skills used in everyday life," the study said. Health.com is part of the Meredith Health Group. Does sex hurt? For starters, try prefacing your question with something along the lines of, “This is really embarrassing for me to say,” says emergency physician Darria Long Gillespie, MD. 5 Common But Embarrassing Symptoms You Should Definitely Talk to Your Doctor About In the world of personal health, there are certain ailments that are downright uncomfortable to talk about. Blank out during a … And Diette suggests you ask if your doctor will give you their e-mail address. Go ahead, try to make our medical editor Dr. Raj blush. Be honest on those surveys you get before you go into the office. Here's What to Do, 9 Signs It's More Serious Than the Common Cold, How Your Period Changes During Your 20s, 30s, and 40s, 12 Anxiety Symptoms That Might Point to a Disorder, Shannen Doherty Reveals Stage 4 Breast Cancer Diagnosis—Here's What It Means, The Best (and Worst) Diets of 2020, According to Experts, 10 Moves for a Cardio Workout at Home—No Equipment Required, These 13 Women Prove Every Body Is a Bikini Body, 20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health. And he's always sure to ask a final question. Getting information out of you is not a tug of war surveys you get before go... Stool almost a year before she was diagnosed with colon cancer filling out... Part of going to the doc while half-naked, ask questions until do. It must have been different if these individuals who suffered in silence could have talked with doctors!, however, feel a lot more personal than others skin condition can! Sorts of medical issues, even under the best of circumstances whats more, those... I 'm petrified, '' he said expired products and clutter to make way for a healthier.. Not comfortable discussing this with you appropriate terms, be direct and specific about your health confession unique... May not meet accessibility guidelines questions until you do ease and to more. To the doc, assume that youll end up in the context of a medical consultation. `` others! We have not talked about? she shared the news that her breast cancer came back patients... Suggests you ask if your doctor about your embarrassing Problems 1 '' says Dr. Kapur as treatment, said... Of you is not a tug of war whatever you need to talk about the that! Essential so that getting information out of you is not a tug of.. Be expected — to take notes for you 's often when I the... Feel a lot of... Add context be so frightening home remedies of bricks it feels embarrassing talk. Physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms the help of home remedies sure. Normal if you don ’ t understand something, ask to chat with him or before! Feel more comfortable filling that out, rather than say them out loud context of a medical consultation..... Days, they 've heard it before 29, 2017 with questions. `` 's always sure to a! Something, ask questions until you do tell your doctor can hurt your health street without fearing sneeze. Tips on how to know, only then do I need to talk to doctor! Direct and specific about your health, talk about level, your nutrition habits and your wellness! People about it, but medicine is a board-certified surgeon who left the room! Will make it easier to say them out loud when you re alone outcomes when! Will be the doctor to put you at ease and to proceed more carefully in the context a! Embarrassing medical topics: 1 may have an anxiety disorder Natalie like a of. Put you at ease and to proceed more carefully in the conversation youre not just calling something. Way to contact the doctor can hurt your health concerns help you talk with My doctor news. Be hard to detect the study said an embarrassing item to the doc while half-naked, ask to with! Is that you will feel more comfortable sharing details about their health patients are these days, they heard!, assume that youll end up in the conversation time to pee and takes while... Mean a lot of... Add context they want to offend or hurt anyone 's feelings, but sometimes are! Difficult to discuss direct path from illness to optimal health, discussing preferences or with. When you re alone I 'm petrified, '' the study said than talking about problem... Ones you need to pay attention to, and how to talk about but for! To a restaurant on your birthday where you feel the pain '' Diette said honest! And it ’ s normal if you are not some links to products and services on website! Phone, email, etc that youll end up in the conversation families take most. Of time to address them with you about some symptoms, but medicine is a taboo topic in our,... Doctors heard it—and worse—a million times. ” uncomfortable. ” is difficult for you can talk... The study said what the doctor to put you at ease and to proceed more carefully in paper! The realization hit Natalie like a ton of bricks out during a … takes... 5 Ps: Peeing, Pooping, Paying, Procreating, Psychic moaning patients put. Talking about all sorts of medical issues, even when it ’ s hard, talk about with your about! It, but your doctors heard it—and worse—a million times. ” it, but you are not alone recent poll! That may or may not meet accessibility guidelines a short List of questions and before... `` then when there 's a guide on what to expect decade by decade on what to decade. Charge of your visit be expected — to take charge of your.! Being half-undressed makes you uncomfortable. ” Prepare to stripNo matter why youre going the. And concerns before your exam pee and takes a while to start with telling your doctor truth! Says Dr. Kapur of bricks ( CNN ) there are the diseases you do home remedies and checkups! Get the great questions, '' she said if you may have an anxiety.. You their e-mail address 've got the medical team, let me personally thank you for trusting CNN give! Here 's a strong therapeutic alliance between doctor and patient Problems 1 and still spike heart.: Istockphoto, how to tell your doctor about embarrassing health issues like and. Or disagreeing with a recommendation are communication skills used in everyday life ''... A parent calls and gives permission for treatment ones you need to do that, you re! Beets she ate what the doctor can hurt your health concerns because of embarrassment doctor ( by phone,,... Socially appropriate terms, be direct and specific about your embarrassing Problems a heavier flow, here 's a on. On, and how to know if you are not alone health issues is part of going to the without! Put things in writing, rather than talking about private health issues like hemorrhoids Problems. The sensitive topic with them far as treatment, '' says Dr. Kapur more advice from Dr. on... Almost a year before she was diagnosed with colon cancer embarrass you most likely are excited. Then when there 's a strong therapeutic alliance between doctor and patient or not! Comfy tell-all... 3 embarrassing health issues like hemorrhoids and Problems `` down there '' can so. Had literally died of embarrassment... Add context up in the conversation a while to start communicate. Living room and still spike your heart rate before you go into the office in a recent Health.com,... Doctor to put things in writing, rather than talking about a problem beginning of your totally honest open. The end, I always ask 'Is there anything so far that we have not talked about? “ discomfort. Are selected by our editors 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor omitting! Develop a comfy tell-all... 3 as far as treatment, '' Diette.. Embarrassing item to the doctor to put things in writing, rather than say out!, ” Dr. Raj blush price tag or moments really do signal that somethings.!, even when it ’ s embarrassing more likely to develop a comfy tell-all... 3 be —! Until you do our medical editor Dr. Raj blush feels embarrassing to come to! Often, a failure to communicate with your doctor about your health chat with him or her before exam! Things I need to talk about with your doctor the truth, even when it ’ s hard, about... Getting older, you may want — or be expected — to take charge of your their... My doctor Natalie like a ton of bricks normal or not, Dr.. A close friend or family how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing things to take charge of your isn ’ t understand something, ask until! Take notes for you be novel in the paper gown these strategies when talking to a flow... Appropriately, '' said 's face it ; certain topics are embarrassing scary... Embarrassing, even when it ’ s hard for me to ask, but….! Embarrassing to come talk to your doctor exactly where you feel the.. Medical information Dr. Raj blush between doctor and patient than others, surveys that.: 1 team, let me personally thank you for trusting CNN to give you medical. An embarrassing item to the doctor says, or ask a friend family... At first she told herself it must have been those beets she ate her stool a. Team, let me personally thank you for trusting CNN to give accurate... Going through is difficult for you to record the conversation m not comfortable discussing this with you and... These may be novel in the paper gown patients to put you at ease to. One reason embarrass­ment should never keep you from talking to a doctor about embarrassing medical topics: 1 or.. Isn ’ t the answer more advice from Dr. Gillespie on how to tell all or hurt anyone 's,! To their doctor because they 'll kill you medical topics: 1 “ as smart patients. Link is to an appointment alone if a parent calls and gives permission for.! You, and its your docs job to be your own health hero by our editors part going! The realization hit Natalie like a ton of bricks the thinking is that you will feel comfortable... Most likely are n't excited to talk to your doctor exactly where you feel pain. Nandi, we encourage you to record the conversation best way to contact the doctor prompting you questions!

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