We all know that doctors have “seen it before” but there remains something that, as a woman (and a person), we’re just too embarrassed to talk about.
In fact, for some of these situations we’ll wait to go to the doctor because we’re so embarrassed, potentially putting ourselves at risk.
Come on ladies. That’s definitely NOT the right thing to do!
So we thought we’d compile a list of the most embarrassing things that ladies might need to see a doctor about, and help you in finding a way to bring them up at your next appointment.
Get stuck in!
12. “I’ve run out of medication, because I have been self-medicating.”
This is often an issue that people face when they’re taking medication for pain. Often, they don’t feel like the medication they have been prescribed, and the instructions they have been given, are suited to them and their environment. So, they self-medicate and then run out of pills early, only then that they go to the doctor and explain. This can be a difficult conversation, but you can’t avoid it. Explain to the doc that you are still in very high levels of pain even after taking the medication in a way that you were instructed. They might decide to change your dose or even the pills themselves.
11. “I have a mystery lump.”
This is one instance where you absolutely should not wait before seeing a doctor. If you find a lump anywhere on your body, it’s important that you make an appointment to see your GP as quickly as possible. It might be uncomfortable to bring up the lump, especially if it isn’t on your boob but somewhere else. It’s important to be clear that the lump is worrying you, and you want it looked at:
“Doctor, I have a lump on my _____ that is worrying me. Can you please look at it and let me know what it is?”
10. “I have a problem with my bottom.”
There are lots of reasons that women, and really all people, have medical issues relating to their bottoms. It’s not that unusual, and indeed many of the conditions are quite common. However, it can be difficult to broach the topic with your doctor if you’re embarrassed. It’s important to be clear on the details, so they can help you figure out if you have worms, anal issues, haemorrhoids, constipation, flatulence or any of the other many conditions that are associated with that area. So be clear on what the symptoms are, and don’t get squeamish.
9. “I’m overweight, but don’t need a lecture.”
Being overweight, or obese, is a growing problem in certain areas of the world, including Australia, and health professions are worried about the trend. However, there are many reasons that an individual person might be overweight, so if you’re struggling with your weight, you need to make it clear to your doctor that you feel something is wrong. The last thing you want is for them to discount your issues because they see you as a lazy, overweight person. We’d say:
“I have been having trouble controlling my weight, despite eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. I’m not interested in nutritional advice, because I feel that my problem may be related to something else, like my contraception or thyroid (or something else that you think it might be related to).”
8. “I have an addiction, and I want help.”
First off, congratulations on making a crucial first step in your journey towards a life that is free from the weight of addiction. By going to see a doctor, you’ve started yourself off, and that’s such a key move. Now, not all doctors are going to be experts in addiction, but if you’re seeing a doctor to start you off, you may need a referral for an addiction rehabilitation clinic. So be clear and open:
“I’ve been struggling with an addiction to _____, and I would like to seek help. What should I do?”
7. “I’m worried, I’m suffering from depression.”
Again, kudos to you for having the strength to see a medical professional about the issues that you’re having. You may have been attending counselling, and have reached a point in your life with depression that living without medication is no longer an option. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your doctor should absolutely be able to provide a referral to a psychiatrist in order for you to access that medication and have your condition further confirmed. Alternatively, they may be able to asses you themselves and provide an answer. Here’s how we suggest starting the conversation:
“I have been struggling with many of the symptoms of depression for some time now, and I don’t think that the solutions I have tried are working for me. I would like to explore the option of medical intervention.”
6. “I have a cut, but I did it to myself.”
First off, there’s no need to be embarrassed about self-harming, especially if the injuries are in need of medical attention. People self-harm for all kinds of reasons, and you may be already dealing with these issues with a counsellor or psychologist. If you are, it’s ok to let your doctor know that you just want to treat the cut, not get a lecture.
“I have a cut that needs treatment. You should know that it was self-inflicted, but I am currently getting treatment with a counsellor/psychologist for the matter.”
Of course if you aren’t seeing a counsellor or psychologist, and you’re worried that your self-harming behaviour may have gone too far, it’s ok to talk to your doctor about this as well:
“I have this cut that needs treatment. It’s self-inflicted, and I’m interested in getting help, but not sure what to do.”
5. “I had unprotected sex, and now I have an STI.”
Guess what? Everybody does things in their life that they regret, even your doctor. That’s why there’s no need to be embarrassed about the fact that you might have had unprotected sex, and you might have picked up an STI. Adults don’t always make great decisions, but your decision to treat that STI instead of just pretending you don’t have it and spreading it around entirely makes up for it. Plus, if your doctor is judging you, they’re stepping out of line. You’re fully aware that unprotected sex is not recommended, and you are an adult. Don’t let them push you around.
4. “I have hair growing somewhere weird.”
Ok this might seem like the most embarrassing thing that you’ve ever had to talk about, but it’s absolutely not! As women age, their body hair changes due to hormone fluctuations. Sometimes, this means things go away (like your period) and sometimes, it seems new things sprout up (like hair where there wasn’t any before). The key here is to understand what’s normal and what isn’t. The best person to talk to about this is your doctor. We’d say:
“Lately, I’ve noticed that I have an unusual amount of hair on my face/chin/bum/back/ears/nose. Is this normal and can I do anything to treat it?”
3. “I don’t think my labia looks normal.”
Well, before you go to a doctor about this, let us tell you one thing: There’s no such thing as normal when it comes to a woman’s labia. Your labia is as unique as you are, which means that it shouldn’t really look like the ones you see in the media, especially in porn where labia are often digitally altered to fit censorship arrangements. However, if your labia is causing your pain or discomfort, it is time to go to the doctor. We’d lead with this:
“I have been having some pain and discomfort in my genital area, and I think it is because of my labia. Can you please take a look?”
2. “I’ve never had an orgasm, what’s wrong with me?”
If you’re worried that you’re alone with this one, you definitely are not! Many women struggle to achieve orgasm, no matter what they do or try. For some women, and you might be surprised at how many, penetrative sex alone will never result in orgasm, and a combination of other methods must be used. This is not abnormal.
However, if you’ve never been able to orgasm, it certainly is something that’s worth seeing a doctor about. We understand that it’s a highly personal topic, but they’re the person who can help. We’d say:
“Listen, doctor, I’m not sure what is wrong, or if it’s just me, but I’ve never had an orgasm. Is there a medical reason for this?”
1. “I stuck something somewhere, and I can’t get it out.”
We aren’t going to lie, this one is a little awkward. But guess what? People are knowledge-seeking primates, and sometimes, that knowledge-seeking takes us to curiosity vs. the cat situations, but it’s all a part of being human. Exploring our bodies is a natural experience that everyone undergoes, but some people just get a little more in-depth than others. So if you’ve been trying something new and you’re in trouble, don’t wait. Get yourself to a doctor or emergency room and just bite the bullet and spill. We’d say:
“I have a problem. I wanted to see what it felt like to put _____ in _____, and now I can’t get it out.”