Too Embarrassed for Your Own Good?
Most of us have been there at least once: We need to discuss a sensitive health issue with our doctor but are too embarrassed to bring it up. While it might be easier to avoid the topic, doing so could be dangerous to your health.
So, how to get past the embarrassment to get the care we need? It may help to know that no matter how mortified you are by what you have to say, your doctor won’t be. He or she will have had experience with all kinds of medical and health issues. That means there’s likely nothing you can say that your doctor hasn’t heard from a patient before.
If the thought of having this type of conversation still makes you uncomfortable, try these tips:
Keep a written log of your symptoms and when they happen to share with your doctor. It will let your doctor know what’s going on without you having to talk about it as much. Plus, having a written record will help you remember key details.
Be upfront about how you feel. Start by saying, “This is kind of embarrassing for me to talk about.” It can be helpful for your doctor to know how you’re feeling as well as what’s going on.
Use common language. Before your visit, think about how to describe your symptoms and what you’re experiencing in simple, clear terms. For example: Would you describe your pain as aching, throbbing, stabbing or…?
Make the setting as comfortable as you can. For example, you might ask the nurse at check-in if you can chat with the doctor while you’re still dressed, before putting on a gown. Or, maybe someone has come to the visit with you but you’re embarrassed to talk about your issues in front of them. If so, consider asking them to wait outside the room for a few minutes.
Try a remote visit first. If you just can’t bring yourself to have the conversation face-to-face, it may be easier for you to talk with your doctor over the phone or in a virtual visit. Depending on your issue, though, you may still need to come in eventually for an in-person exam.
Remember, your doctor is there to help, and you should feel welcome to talk openly with them about anything that concerns your health—even the parts that make you blush.