Wednesday, 1 April 2015

What You're Not Telling Your Doctor


By Camille Peri
WebMD Feature

You probably have things you're not eager to tell your doctor. Maybe you still haven't stopped smoking. Or you didn't get that colonoscopy this year either. And then there's that problem in bed that you don't even want to think about.

Don't beat yourself up if you've held back once or twice at a doctor visit. 

"It's not surprising. … You're nervous and undressed and in a time-crunch situation," says Sherrie H. Kaplan, MPH, PhD, co-director of the Health Policy Research Institute at the University of California School of Medicine in Irvine.

Tempting as it may be to leave out some information, though, don't settle for silence. There are ways to bring up the most embarrassing issues, and there's a big reason you should. If you don't, you might leave out info your doctor needs to know to make the right diagnosis and give you the best care.

"It's not OK to show up and shut up," Kaplan says.

What We Keep Quiet About

If you're like most people, you may hold back from bringing up topics like:

  • Mental health
  • Sex and genitals
  • Bowels
  • Body weight
  • Domestic violence
  • Memory loss
  • Illegal drug use
  • Not following through on or sticking with treatment

Why You Might Say Nothing

You may find these subjects like these sticky for a number of reasons.

If you can't afford a medication or the kind of food your doctor advises you to eat, you may be ashamed to say it. Or you may think your doctor will judge your lifestyle -- say, if you use recreational drugs or are sexually active.

Or you may think some subjects are off-limits. Rest assured, though, you're unlikely to surprise your doctor. "They are used to hearing about all kinds of issues," says Zackary Berger, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. 

Some people are reluctant to bring up emotional issues, says Berger, who wrote Talking to Your Doctor: A Patient's Guide to Communication in the Exam Room and Beyond.

If you're a man, you're more likely to hold back with your doctor on just about any subject, Kaplan says.

"Especially if a man has a male doctor, they tend to have clipped conversations," he says. "Men usually end up not saying too much and not getting a lot of information."

source : What You're Not Telling Your Doctor

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