How to approach a healthcare professional about an embarrassing problem
Many of us, will at some point have a medical problem that we find embarrassing. It’s times like this that we worry about our doctor judging us so many people with potentially serious problems avoid going to see their GP completely. When they do go, they might hide the truth or not reveal the full extent of the issue. They may tell the doctor of headaches, a sore throat or pain in their back and it will take a skilled and experienced doctor to link it up to a sexually transmitted infection for example.
That is why it is crucial to be honest with your GP even when you you’re your problem is embarrassing. Try to remember that after many of training and practice, the GP has seen it all before and will analyse a problem, whether it’s in your genitals or in your ear with the same scientific and rational viewpoint, not a moral one.
Some examples of health conditions that people often find too embarrassing to get help with include:
Rashes on the bottom or genitals
Itch in an intimate place
Problems during sex
To get the most effective help, you need to give your GP a detailed description of what your symptoms are. This can be hard to do so here are a few tips to help you approach a healthcare professional with the issue:
- Write everything down before attending your appointment. This means you won’t worry about not knowing what to say or getting tongue-tied. It will also help you to stay focused and make sure you cover everything.
- Start with the most serious concern first and your doctor will most likely lead the questions from there to cover everything that’s relevant. Perhaps you’ve already used London Home STI kits, making it easier to discuss the problem. For more information, visit www.bexleysexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits
- Don’t be afraid to use the proper words for things like vagina or penis. Using slang or other names will probably make your doctor feel more uncomfortable. Remember that they have received years of medical training in a science and therefore are used to these anatomical words.
- Any intimate examination that needs to take place will be offered with a chaperone if you’d like one. This could be someone you bring with you or a nurse and is done to make you feel more at ease.
- Although it may seem like a good idea to see a GP you wouldn’t normally see to avoid seeing the one who knows you best, this could just cause more problems. Your regular doctor knows your medical history and is best placed to make an accurate diagnosis. He or she will still know about any treatment received elsewhere as it will all be in your medical notes anyway.
- Out of nervousness or embarrassment, people often use perfumed sprays or talc on their genitals before attending an appointment but remember that this could interfere with the results of a urine test so is best avoided.