The fact of the matter is, some healthcare issues are more sensitive, or even down right embarrassing, to discuss with your family medicine doctor. Far too often, people go to the doctor with specific questions in mind about their ailment, and end up never asking their doctor the question. No matter how touchy, gross, or embarrassing the subject may be to you, there is no excuse for failing to get your medical concerns addressed by your physician. Here is your guide to talking with your family doctor about your most sensitive healthcare issues.
One way to kill the embargoment before it prevails you from approaching your doctor about these sensitive topics is to simply get some practice asking those embarrassing questions. Whether you are talking about bodily functions, or specific aches and pains in some of your nether regions, simply hearing yourself say the words out loud has a way of making them less embarrassing and scary. This can be especially helpful for folks who have been around a while and are not used to say certain words out of fear of being impolite. Practicing saying these words aloud will make it all the easier when you arrive at your doctor's office.
One way many people overcome embarrassment when discussing their private, and sometimes taboo, health issues is to simply own the embargo. Start the conversation with your doctor by saying something like, “I'm embarrassed to ask this, but …” or “This topic is a little strange, but …” By owning your embarassment and being willing to laugh at your self and your own embarrassrment you will go a long way to making it easier to talk with your doctor about some of the more off-color topics.
Write your questions down
You should also keep in mind that your doctor has gone through years of training, and may have acquired a specialized language of medical jargon while in medical school. This can make it difficult for patients to bring up their issues for fear of saying the wrong words or not quite describing the problem. Ultimately, as a patient, your job is to communicate with your doctor. It does not matter if you know the fancy medical terms or not, but you must get your questions and concerns out there. One way to make sure this gets completed is to go to your doctor's office with a list of questions and concerns in hand.
Remember that your family medicine doctor has heard it all
One last thing to keep in mind before your big doctor's appointment, is that your doctor, being the highly trained professional that he or she is, has probably seen or heard cases very similar to yours regularly in the past. While it may seem embarrassing and scary to talk about these issues for you, chances are your doctor will not bat an eye when you mention even the most embarrassing of ailments.
Find the Right Person to Ask
Finally, while we have discussed several different ways for you to broach sensitive topics and issues with your medical doctor, another thing to keep in mind, is that your doctor may not always be the best person to ask. If you have a good relationship and established rapport with the nurse or physician's assistant, then by all means ask them your question. Even if they do not have a readily available answer for you, there is a good chance that they can find it, and save you the embarrassment of asking someone you do not know as well.