Healthcare Provider – Taking care of your health should be a priority in your life. Dismissing a problem that might be bothering you only because you don’t feel comfortable bringing it up can cause issues that weren’t that severe, to begin with.
Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about certain topics, conditions, or problems they may be experiencing. Though this is a natural feeling to have when it comes to your health, that shame should be left outside the door, and you should be able to ask your practitioner any questions you have. If you leave it for too long, number one, you may be putting yourself at risk, and number two, you’ll probably be in pain or uncomfortable having to live with it every day. Besides, the stress that can be caused just because you believe something is wrong with you and you don’t talk about it will make the whole situation escalate and worsen.
Health professionals have probably heard it all. They’ve also probably seen it all. Moreover, they are trained to deal with any problem or topic, even the one you’re thinking is too embarrassing to bring up. If you’re afraid your healthcare provider may judge you for it, try to remember that people working in medicine only want to help others get relief. They wouldn’t judge you for your problem.
The first step you have to take is to just schedule an appointment with your physician or family nurse practitioner. That’s the first and most difficult thing to do. Once you’re in front of your provider, you will feel much better, and they will help you get the words out if you start getting nervous. You’ll read more on this below with a few tips on how to address the uncomfortable questions talk.
But is your problem and concern one of the questions that also have been worrying other people? You might find out that many others also share the same feelings and are also stressing about how to ask certain questions. Below, you’ll find out what most common questions people have been afraid to ask their healthcare provider.
The health questions you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask a professional:
My family complains that I have very bad breath
This happens to be one of the most frequently unasked questions as people feel ashamed to talk about something that affects their daily life so much. Persistent bad breath can be a cause for alarm if you’re taking good care of your dental hygiene, so make sure you ask your provider the next time you see them.
Can I have sex during pregnancy?
Sex is another big taboo, even with a medical team. As you can guess, it absolutely shouldn’t be, especially in a situation like this one where you have a natural concern that involves more than just yourself. Your family nurse practitioner or OBGYN can give you an answer and offer some advice if needed.
I cannot afford the meds you prescribed me last time
Admitting to this one is not only challenging at the doctor’s office, but this is also a topic that no one likes to share with others. But this isn’t the time to feel embarrassed. If you cannot afford the medication you require to treat a disease or other, you must tell your doctor. They can give you solutions and prescribe something different.
There’s blood when I go to the toilet
Talking about your digestive system isn’t an activity most people would choose free willingly. However, with serious cases like this one, being open with your doctor is key to finding out what’s wrong. Hopefully, it won’t be anything severe, but if it is constant, it could mean a serious disease.
I’m always sweating, I have to change shirts twice a day
Oversweating is a real problem, and if you’re having to change shirts on the same day, besides affecting your day-to-day, it is a health concern. You could have a problem with your thyroid, an infection, or even diabetes. Have it checked out before you have to deal with serious consequences?
Should I be tested for STIs?
Again, talking about sex may be difficult because you fear you’re going to be judged by your actions. Your feelings are valid and happen to the majority of people, but you can’t be afraid to talk about these topics with your primary care doctor or nurse practitioner. If you have this question in mind, the answer is probably yes.
I urinate a little when I laugh/sneeze
After a certain age or pregnancy, this is quite natural to happen. You should look into strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, and that will help. If this is a concern to you because you don’t fall into any of those two categories, then urinary incontinence should be looked into. You may be experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety that is causing this, so talk to your doctor and decide together what’s the plan of action.
My feet are very stinky
Even though it may be uncomfortable at first, speaking to your provider about your feet odor will make you much happier in the end. They’ll have the advice to give you, and you won’t ever have to feel like you can’t remove your shoes at a party.
Is it normal to have breasts that are not the same size?
This question could be important if you’ve noticed any recent change in the size or shape of your breasts. You may not feel comfortable talking about this or showing it. However, it might save your life if you do so. Breast awareness is extremely important, so don’t feel ashamed to ask your doctor anything related to yours.
I’ve been constipated for x amount of time…
Another bowel movement question, a very intimidating one as well. A number of factors can cause a change to your digestion, but a sudden change in diet and or meds are the most common reasons for constipation. Checking your problem and frequency with your doctor or FNP is still worth it.
I’m always farting
Keeping up with the theme, this concern is very common among especially men. Passing gas is perfectly normal, but it may cause concern if you believe it to be too frequent in your case. The good news is, it’s usually not. Certain foods make you gassier than others, and depending on your activity level, you may also experience a difference on those days. However, if this is heavy on your mind, being honest with a nurse practitioner or physician will put your mind at rest, so go for it.
Why have I started wetting the bed?
An affliction that affects many adults, but you’re not out there advertising it, so it’s not very known. This could mean you have an overactive bladder, and the causes for that are different, and even though they aren’t necessarily serious, they can be, so talk about them sooner rather than later.
I feel like my libido has changed
This could be a cause of concern. A normal hormonal balance doesn’t cause persistent low or high levels of libido. Therefore, if you feel like yours has changed for some time, this is definitely a question you don’t want to overlook at the doctor’s office. It may be nothing serious, but you could also be looking at mental health problems, a hormonal imbalance, and more, so leave the shame outside the door for that appointment and get help.
I feel awkward having to strip down at the OBGYN
An incredibly normal concern to have, especially in the first few times you have to do it. One thing to keep in mind is that you’re not alone in this, and the procedure is very medical and technical. The gynecologist is not there to judge your body shape or size, but you must do whatever you’re comfortable with, so being open about this fear could lead to a deeper, more trusting relationship with your OBGYN.
But how can I address this conversation? How do I start?
As you can see, most of the concerns and questions listed are all related to digestive issues, body odors, urinary incontinence, and sexual health. These are the most common subjects people struggle with when it comes to discussing openly with their family care provider.
Even if your question wasn’t on this list, the way to approach this at the doctor’s office or clinic is the same. Below are some strategies and techniques that will help you deal with this on the day of your appointment.
An open, honest relationship: making sure you’re comfortable with your primary care provider is key to start having these conversations. A great alternative is to consider being seen by a family nurse practitioner since they focus on long-term care, and you will feel more relaxed if you trust your healthcare provider. At Texas Woman’s University online, they explain this concept perfectly.
Write down what you want to say: planning it to the T is vital in helping you with the last-minute jitters. Take note of your question or concern and even practice how you think the dialogue will go, so you can come up with follow-up questions and explain your problem well.
Be honest: you can start by telling your practitioner that you’re nervous to ask them a question. Or that you feel a little comfortable, but you have something in your mind that you’d like to share. This part is usually easier, but it makes the biggest difference. The provider will know how to make you feel comfortable, and you will feel like you just have to say it then since you’ve already started.
Be prepared for follow-up questions: don’t come in with only a question or statement, and expect your doctor to know exactly what you mean and not ask any further questions. That’s why writing it down beforehand may help with this part. Be prepared to explain your concern in more detail.
It has to be done. You will feel better about it after having asked for help and probably even being given an easy treatment or simple answer to your question. Don’t postpone it. The longer you wait, the worse your health problem could get.