How to discuss embarrassing subjects with your doctor?


Do you dread the moment of discussing embarrassing or intimate health topics with a health professional? Discover the 9 tips from doctors on Healthlinerx to properly prepare for your appointment and avoid any feeling of embarrassment.

Why should you talk about everything health-related with your doctor?

Talking about some health topics can be difficult, but living with symptoms that bother you is even worse. Unusual body odor, sexual health or feeling depressed: doctors are above all there to help you. The role of a doctor is not to pass judgment on your health or your lifestyle, but to help you get better. No question is therefore taboo during a consultation. By being upfront about your symptoms or how you feel, the doctor can find ways to help you, whether it’s through medication, therapy, or referral to a specialist.

Here are nine simple tips for successfully talking about all matters concerning your physical and mental health.

1. Make a list

Sometimes it’s easier to organize your thoughts in writing before talking to a doctor, especially if you want to discuss several different topics. For example, you can write down your symptoms, sensations or questions before the appointment to help you remember important details that you may forget on the day. Having notes to refer to can also help. reduce your anxiety. If you feel nervous, you can also share your written notes with the doctor.

2. Try teleconsultation

If your symptoms worry you but you dread the idea of ​​talking about them face to face, you can try to make a teleconsultation appointment from home. Sometimes it’s easier to talk openly in a familiar space where you feel safe.

3. Get informed

It may be useful for some people to read up on the subject that concerns them before their appointment. You don’t have to know all the medical terminology, but it can help you find the right way to describe what you’re feeling. Be careful though: searching for symptoms online can be confusing, even alarmist. Instead, refer to reliable sources, such as the Social Security website , Medical Advice or In Good Health, Livi’s blog : the information provided there is validated and updated regularly by doctors and experts. medical.

4. Practice

If you feel embarrassed or find it difficult to talk about your concerns in front of others , you can try practicing at home or in a place where you feel comfortable. Hearing yourself say the words that bother you out loud can also help you gain confidence.

5. Be as specific as possible

It is not necessary to know exactly what is going on in your body or why. Being specific about the timing and nature of your symptoms already greatly helps your doctor understand what is going on.

You can say for example:

  • “Over the past month, I’ve had trouble controlling my bladder sometimes.”
  • “For the past two months, I have been experiencing sharp pain during sexual intercourse. ”
  • “I’ve lost interest in things I used to find fun and have trouble waking up in the morning.”

The more reliable and accurate information your doctor has, the better they will be able to help you.

6. Ask questions

Doctor appointments can be hectic and the doctor can sometimes give you a lot of information all at once. Do not hesitate to ask him questions to better understand his advice and recommendations. You can also ask him to clarify any medical terms he uses if you don’t know them. Finally, repeating the main information he gave you at the end of the consultation can help you better assimilate them.

7. Tell the doctor you’re uncomfortable

Telling the doctor that you are nervous about talking to him about these topics can help him better understand your state of mind and the way you express yourself. Simply addressing the issue of embarrassment by being open about it can help ease your tension. Here are some phrases you can try:

  • “It’s embarrassing or difficult for me to talk about.”
  • “I’ve never spoken to anyone about this before.”
  • “I feel a little nervous: be indulgent while I explain to you”.

8. Don’t forget that the appointment is completely confidential

Whether in teleconsultation or face-to-face, doctors respect the privacy of their patients and are bound by medical secrecy: the medical office is a caring environment where you can share your problem in complete confidentiality.

9. Choose the right doctor for you

Listening is an integral part of care, and the patient’s feelings are decisive in establishing a diagnosis. If you have the impression that you have not been heard, or that the doctor has not understood your explanations, do not hesitate to consult another health professional in order to seek treatment quickly. On Livi, you can consult general practitioners and specialists trained in teleconsultation care. These doctors regularly undergo training on evolving health topics, particularly concerning sexual health and women’s health.

When to consult?

If you have symptoms that worry you, it’s usually best to talk to a doctor as soon as possible. Here are some health issues that may seem bothersome at first but are important to address as soon as symptoms appear:

  • problems with digestion or bowel movements ;
  • mental health issues , such as depression , stress and anxiety ;
  • lumps or rashes around the buttocks, breasts , groin or vagina;
  • incontinence or urinary tract infection ;
  • symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs);
  • sexual dysfunction such as premature ejaculation or impotence ;
  • symptoms of premenopause or menopause ;
  • hair loss ;
  • unusual body odor , excessive sweating or bad breath .

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