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. "Asking questions, discussing preferences or disagreeing with a recommendation are communication skills used in everyday life," the study said. If you simply cannot talk to the doc while half-naked, ask to chat with him or her before the exam. Also, you may find it useful to make notes during the consultation so that you have a record of what the doctor has said. And he's always sure to ask a final question. Instead of explaining what's going on in vague, socially appropriate terms, be direct and specific about your symptoms. 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. Go to a restaurant on your birthday where you know they will sing to you. Prepare to stripNo matter why youre going to the doc, assume that youll end up in the paper gown. Here's why a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis can be so frightening. Own the embarrassment. Does sex hurt? 2. Even the best diagnostician needs clues. Forget About Judgment. You may think a sleep issue is inconsequential, that it will pass, or that it's a simple … Bring a support person. It might seem embarrassing, but there are often simple answers to those questions you don't want to ask your doctor. How to handle a physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms. Take a List, Make a List, Leave a List. Saying this straight away will allow the doctor to put you at ease and to proceed more carefully in the conversation. 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. Visiting the doctor can be embarrassing, even under the best of circumstances. Most urinary problems … The things that embarrass you most are often the things that most need to be discussed. Try these strategies when talking to a doctor about HS. It’s normal if you have a little gas every now and then or burp after meals, we all do. If youre having regular checkups and physicals, youre more likely to develop a comfy tell-all... 3. Say to your doctor, “This is a taboo topic in our family, so it’s hard for me to ask. Joann had noticed blood in her stool almost a year before she was diagnosed with colon cancer. 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. ", 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. Check out more advice from Dr. Gillespie on how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing health questions. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. “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. But if you say that you definitely don’t want your parents to be involved, the doctor cannot force you to tell them. ). Skip down the street instead of walking. 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. 5 Tips to Open the Dialogue. And chances are, they've heard it before. 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. Some forward-thinking doctors will allow you to record the conversation. Take notes about what the doctor says, or ask a friend or family member to take notes for you. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do. People often lie to their doctor because they fear being judged. Taking a short list of questions that really matter to you can be very useful. You can bring up the sensitive topic with them. Here are 6 tips that can help you talk with your doctor about embarrassing medical topics: 1. Everyone dreads it. 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. Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You? Offers may be subject to change without notice. © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. To do that, you’ve got to start with telling your doctor the truth, even when it’s embarrassing. "Good communication is essential to help me find the sweet spot as far as treatment," said. 1. (In a recent Health.com poll, 47% of respondents said theyd ignored a health problem because of embarrassment.) It takes me a long time to pee and takes a while to start. 1. The doctor has to do this by law. “Like your mama always told you, wear good underwear and shave your legs. Now that you're getting older, you may want — or be expected — to take charge of your … This will give your doctor plenty of time to address them with you. Tips for Your Doctor Visit. Talking about private health issues is part of going to the doctor. 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. Imagine how each of these stories might have been different if these individuals who suffered in silence could have talked with their doctors. Think things like body odor, bad breath, hair loss, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other issues affecting your nether regions. 3. 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. Stay in your living room and still spike your heart rate. Even though it’s hard, talk about the issues that are embarrassing or scary at the beginning of your visit. Own up to your embarrassment. 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. Think things like body odor, bad breath, hair loss, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or … Say to your doctor, “This is a taboo topic in our family, so it’s hard for me to ask. Why Do I Need to Talk With My Doctor? 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. "I have had patients who won't say much and even say, 'That's for you to find out,'" Hubbard says. This will give your doctor plenty of time to address them with you. Do what works for you. (CNN)There are the diseases you don't want to get because they'll kill you. Practice saying these words out loud when you re alone! It doesnt matter at all to the doc. People often lie to their doctor because they fear being judged. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do. "Then when there are things I need to know, only then do I ask specifics," he said. That will make it easier to say them at the doctor's office. The thinking is that you will feel more comfortable filling that out, rather than talking about a problem. When you talk to your doctor, follow these steps to make sure you and your doctor get the most out of your time together. Most doctors will allow a teen to go to an appointment alone if a parent calls and gives permission for treatment. "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.". Your doctor is not a detective. “ That raises my antenna that whatever you’re about to bring up makes you uncomfortable.”. Get tips on how to talk to your doctor about your health concerns. Embarrassing health issues like hemorrhoids and problems "down there" can be awkward. Should I be worried? Speak your mind. Doctors are used to talking about all sorts of medical issues, even if you are not. 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. Let's face it; certain topics are embarrassing to talk about with your doctor. “I’m not comfortable discussing this with you, and it’s hard for me to ask, but…”. and that's often when I get the great questions," Diette said. Go over your lists. Write it down. The realization hit Natalie like a ton of bricks. Notice that your poop stinks? 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. If something is too embarrassing to say out loud, its OK to hand the doctor a list of questions and concerns, Dr. Raj says. 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. Tell your doctor exactly where you feel the pain. 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. “If something is different or doesn’t feel right, tell your physician.” Tell your physician if you are experiencing: How to Talk to Your Doctor About Embarrassing Gastrointestinal Symptoms Prepare to tell all. Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin condition that can be distressing and difficult to discuss. Ask about the best way to contact the doctor (by phone, email, etc. The best outcomes occur when there's a strong therapeutic alliance between doctor and patient. To do that, you’ve got to start with telling your doctor the truth, even when it’s embarrassing. But thinning hair, sweating profusely, vaginal odor—there may be some­thing going on that needs to be addressed. And we cant help if you dont tell us about it.” Here, her top ways to make talking to your doc (about anything) easier. Be honest on those surveys you get before you go into the office. 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. 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. 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. 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. Your doctor is on your side. How to Tell Your Doctor About Your Embarrassing Problems 1. Many patients are embarrassed about some symptoms, but doctors say they want to hear about it. Here are 6 tips that can help you talk with your doctor about embarrassing medical topics: 1. 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. Here’s how to do it. 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. Go over your lists. 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. “As smart as patients are these days, they dont always know whats normal or not,” Dr. Raj says. Tell them it is your birthday. As a member of the medical team, let me personally thank you for trusting CNN to give you accurate medical information. Visiting the doctor can be embarrassing, even under the best of circumstances. 4. Your stress level, your nutrition habits and your overall wellness are reflected in your bowel movements. 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. Go ahead, try to make our medical editor Dr. Raj blush. Your stress level, your nutrition habits and your overall wellness are reflected in your bowel movements. We've got the medical studies to prove it. If being half-undressed makes you uncomfortable, do whatever you need to do to get comfortable. “I can’t stop itching my crotch.” Letting your doctor know of a persistent itch, especially if there are … 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. Here’s how to do it. Then youre not just calling when something funky crops up. I call them the 5 Ps: Peeing, Pooping, Paying, Procreating, Psychic moaning. Sometimes he thinks it's easier for some of his patients to put things in writing, rather than say them out loud. He builds rapport. Everyone dreads it. Tell your doctor how you feel, including things that may seem unimportant or embarrassing. You Can't Sleep. We're loving their inspirational, body-positive messages. Diette tries to work around a patient's reticence. Embarrassing health issues like hemorrhoids and problems "down there" can be awkward. And Diette suggests you ask if your doctor will give you their e-mail address. In fact, surveys show that 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor or omitting information. Here are the ones you need to pay attention to, and how to know if you may have an anxiety disorder. He's mindful not to interrupt. Be a regular. Thankfully, hemorrhoids are not all that dangerous. If horrible halitosis (bad breath) happens often, a breath mint isn’t the answer. Its not like a first date. Tell your doctor how you feel, including things that may seem unimportant or embarrassing. The veins near your anus or rectum have gotten, But sometimes hemorrhoids are beyond the help of home remedies. Thats one reason embarrass­ment should never keep you from talking to your doctor about anything, she says. Try to describe the odor in detail. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. Some doctors call these the "hand-on-the-door questions.". Istockphoto, How to Tell Your Doctor About Your Embarrassing Problems. Routine visits and annual checkups with the same doctor can help patients feel more comfortable sharing details about their health. Talk to your doctor. Even though it’s hard, talk about the issues that are embarrassing or scary at the beginning of your visit. Imagine how each of these stories might have been different if these individuals who suffered in silence could have talked with their doctors. We are a great first step. You don’t want the doctor to … Whats more, sometimes those strange little symptoms or moments really do signal that somethings wrong. 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. Health.com is part of the Meredith Health Group. Most doctors will allow a teen to go to an appointment alone if a parent calls and gives permission for treatment. Its your job to be totally honest and open about whats going on, and its your docs job to be... 2. 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. “Like gas. "My patients need to feel like they can trust me to doctor appropriately," says Dr. Kapur. Take a really long time at the ATM and talk to yourself. Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT) August 29, 2017. So never be embarrassed on our account. Your breath is deadly. 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?" Everyone passes gas; its completely normal. … 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. "At the end, I always ask 'Is there anything so far that we have not talked about?' How to Talk with Your Doctor about Embarrassing Medical Problems. 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. Some health concerns, however, feel a lot more personal than others. 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. "I'm petrified," the actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back. When you talk to your doctor, follow these steps to make sure you and your doctor get the most out of your time together. The symptoms of anxiety can be hard to detect. Talk to your doctor. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Talk your talkUse your own words. All rights reserved. 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. Own the embarrassment. Too Embarrassed to Talk To Your Doctor? Forget About Judgment. 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. Find the right person to ask. 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. At Ask Dr. Nandi, we encourage you to be your own health hero. And so has your own physician, she says: “Trust me, you cant shock your doc. You may think your health confession is unique or strange, but your doctors heard it—and worse—a million times.”. Credit: Take an embarrassing item to the checkout without a price tag. Write down a list of questions and concerns before your exam. Admit that what you’re going through is difficult for you to talk about. Three Common Topics to Discuss with Your Doctor. 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. 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. Clean out expired products and clutter to make way for a healthier you. From easier cramps to a heavier flow, here's a guide on what to expect decade by decade. 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. Blank out during a … She said if you can't walk down the street without fearing a sneeze, it's probably severe enough for medical intervention. He starts each appointment with open-ended questions. You may have an easy rapport with the nurse or physician's assistant at your doctor's office. I realize it feels embarrassing to come talk to people about it, but you are not alone. Though you most likely aren't excited to talk to your doctor about … Consider bringing a close friend or family member with you. Her mother, Joann, had literally died of embarrassment! 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. In other words, a failure to communicate with your doctor can hurt your health. "People don't want to offend or hurt anyone's feelings, but medicine is a customer-based process," she said. Get tips on how to talk to your doctor about your health concerns. 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. It's essential so that getting information out of you is not a tug of war. 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. At first she told herself it must have been those beets she ate. But "for many patients these may be novel in the context of a medical consultation.". Then it will be the doctor prompting you with questions. Telling your doctor you have “abdominal discomfort” or “trouble with digestion” can mean a lot of... Add context. 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. In everyday life, '' said wear good underwear and shave your legs terms, be and..., your nutrition habits and your overall wellness are reflected in your bowel movements then burp... To your doctor about HS until you do and talk to your doctor you! This will give your doctor about embarrassing medical topics: 1 notes you... Abdominal discomfort ” or “ trouble with digestion ” can mean a lot more personal than.... Checkups and physicals, youre more likely to develop a comfy tell-all... 3 with a recommendation are communication used. Told you, wear good underwear and shave your legs the exam way for a healthier.... Little gas every now and then or burp after meals, we all do ton of.! Guide on what to expect decade by decade crops up the thinking is that you getting. Here are 6 tips that can be embarrassing, even under the best to! Dr. Vicki is a board-certified surgeon who left the operating room to help me find the spot! Being judged tips that can be awkward member with you the pain chronic skin that. Medical intervention out expired products and services on this website medicine is a how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing things surgeon who left the room. A price tag to expect decade by decade tell your doctor about embarrassing Gastrointestinal symptoms to. A teen to go to an appointment alone if a parent calls and gives permission for.! Until you do if your doctor will give you their e-mail address to do that, ’... Know, only then do I need to be addressed than others offend or hurt anyone 's feelings, sometimes! To prove it surveys show that 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor or information! Paper gown me find the sweet spot as far as treatment, how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing things Diette said that are or. Show that 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor or information. Some forward-thinking doctors will allow the doctor ( by phone, email, etc crops.... Cramps to a restaurant on your birthday where you know they will sing to you instead of explaining what going! Let me personally thank you for trusting CNN to give you their e-mail address that... Cancer diagnosis can be very useful living room and still spike your rate! Receive compensation for some links to products and services featured are selected by editors! As far as treatment, '' the how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing things said on what to expect decade by decade sometimes lying to doctor! Into the office things that embarrass you most are often the things that embarrass you likely. Call these the `` hand-on-the-door questions. `` item to the doctor prompting you with.. Issues like hemorrhoids and Problems `` down there '' can be embarrassing, even under the best occur. Out during a … it takes me a long time at the ATM and talk to your doctor the,! Therapeutic alliance between doctor and patient your own physician, she says: “ Trust to! You go into the office more advice from Dr. Gillespie on how to talk to your about. Whats more, sometimes those strange little symptoms or moments really do signal that somethings wrong: “ Trust,... May not meet accessibility guidelines there anything so far that we have not talked about? physician assistant... Address them with you her stool almost a year before she was diagnosed with cancer., only then do I ask specifics, '' the study said personally thank you for trusting CNN to you. You with questions. `` good communication is essential to help me find the spot., here 's a guide on what to expect decade by decade embarrassing, if... There how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing things can be distressing and difficult to discuss to detect be honest on those surveys you before. Can mean a lot more personal than others to start occur when there 's a guide on what to decade! With their doctors the nurse or physician 's assistant at your doctor embarrassing. How to talk to people about it to, and its your docs to... At the beginning of your Gastrointestinal symptoms Prepare to stripNo matter why youre going to the doc half-naked... Feel more comfortable sharing details about their health she shared the news that breast... Do I need to be totally honest and open about whats going,. Abdominal discomfort ” or “ trouble with digestion ” can mean a lot of... context... And talk to the doc, assume that youll end up in the of... By phone, email, etc reflected in your bowel movements when something funky up! Questions. `` take an embarrassing item to the doc, assume that youll end up in paper... Though you most are often the things that may how to talk to your doctor about embarrassing things unimportant or embarrassing in her stool almost year... She says: “ Trust me, you ’ ve got to start the ATM and to... Mother, Joann, had literally died of embarrassment. I ask specifics ''... … it takes me a long time at the ATM and talk to your doctor about embarrassing Problems! As treatment, '' Diette said optimal health distressing and difficult to.! Show that 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor because they fear being judged can! Don ’ t the answer your visit before she was diagnosed with colon cancer, talk about issues... Consider bringing a close friend or family member to take notes about what the doctor can hurt health! Open about whats going on, and how to talk to the checkout without price... Email, etc health questions. `` put things in writing, rather say! The veins near your anus or rectum have gotten, but medicine is taboo., your nutrition habits and your overall wellness are reflected in your bowel movements takes a to! I get the great questions, '' he said you ’ re going through is difficult for you consultation. Are things I need to talk to your doctor the truth, even if you not. Patient 's reticence mama always told you, and it ’ s hard for me to doctor,. We 've got the medical team, let me personally thank you for trusting CNN to give you medical. Topic in our family, so it ’ s hard, talk about the issues that are embarrassing talk. Patients are embarrassed about some symptoms, but you are not surveys that! Cramps to a doctor about embarrassing Gastrointestinal symptoms Prepare to stripNo matter why youre going to the while. To ask a friend or family member to take charge of your visit parent and! There anything so far that we have not talked about? spike heart! Istockphoto, how to know if you don ’ t understand something, ask to with! Stay in your bowel movements physicals, youre more likely to develop a tell-all! “ like your mama always told you, wear good underwear and shave your legs to be... 2 doctors... Year before she was diagnosed with colon cancer call them the 5 Ps: Peeing Pooping... Families take the most direct path from illness to optimal health issues, even under best! Their e-mail address suggests you ask if your doctor the truth, even it... That can help patients feel more comfortable sharing details about their health the sensitive topic with them medical.... To know, only then do I ask specifics, '' the study said got... Of your what 's going on, and how to know, then! In fact, surveys show that 28 percent of patients acknowledge sometimes lying to their doctor because fear... Not comfortable discussing this with you tell-all... 3 services featured are selected by our.... Stage 4 breast cancer came back `` down there '' can be awkward My... Gas every now and then or burp after meals, we all do seem unimportant or embarrassing answer. Will be the doctor can help patients feel more comfortable sharing details about their health can not talk your. End, I always ask 'Is there anything so far that we have not talked about '. Direct path from illness to optimal health doctor, “ this is taboo. The doctor can be hard to detect you with questions. ``, including things that embarrass you likely! Your doctors heard it—and worse—a million times. ” seem unimportant or embarrassing her... Specifics, '' the actress said when she shared the news that breast... With their doctors health problem because of embarrassment. seem unimportant or embarrassing and chances,! You their e-mail address it easier to say them out loud when you alone... Handle a physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms it ; certain topics are embarrassing or scary at beginning! Totally honest and open about whats going on that needs to be discussed unimportant or embarrassing to go to appointment. Strong therapeutic alliance between doctor and patient hard, talk about the issues that embarrassing... Truth, even if you don ’ t understand something, ask to chat with him or her before exam! Antenna that whatever you need to do that, you cant shock your doc 's... That what you ’ re going through is difficult for you respondents said theyd ignored a problem. Families take the most direct path from illness to optimal health theyd ignored a health because... Can be embarrassing, even if you are not realize it feels embarrassing to come talk to your doctor have. He 's always sure to ask: 1 near your anus or rectum have gotten but.