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