How to Have More Confidence when Asking the Doctor Sticky Health Questions
Sticky health questions: everybody has them at some point, but many people never work up the courage to ask their doctor about them. It can feel pretty awkward to visit the doctor and tell them about your bladder problems or STD symptoms, for instance.
But even though it’s normal to feel shy about discussing awkward topics, avoiding difficult conversations isn’t a good thing to do. Not asking these questions could have long-term health ramifications, so learning how to bring them up is important. Here’s how you can do so next time you visit the doctor.
1. The doctor has heard everything before
No matter what weird symptom you bring up, you aren’t going to surprise or embarrass your doctor. They’ve heard it all before, and they’re not going to judge you. Rest assured that even if you feel like dying of embarrassment when you ask your question, it’s not going to be a big deal to your doctor.
2. Remind yourself how important your health is
Your health is precious. If you lose it, you may never be able to get it back. Your embarrassing symptom might be nothing serious, but it also might be a real problem that needs immediate attention. Think about it – isn’t your long-term health worth having one awkward conversation?
3. Know what you want to say ahead of time
Telling your doctor about your symptoms will be easier if you’ve practiced what you want to say ahead of time. You can tell your doctor what’s going on however you want – you don’t have to use formal medical terminology, although you can if that makes you feel more comfortable. Don’t just go in without a plan, or the topic will be even harder to bring up.
4. Write it down
If you’re really uncomfortable, consider writing down your symptoms or a list of questions for the doctor. That way, you won’t have to actually say much. Even better, start keeping a journal about the symptoms you’ve noticed and their severity. That information might help your doctor pinpoint what’s going on more easily.
5. Get regular checkups
If you only see your doctor when you’re sick, you probably don’t know them very well. This can make it harder to bring up sticky questions. Get into the habit of going in for a checkup every year so you can develop a rapport with your doctor – if you do, asking those questions will probably become a lot easier.
Bringing up awkward topics at the doctor’s office can be tricky, but there’s really no need to be embarrassed. Remember that it’s your doctor’s job to answer your questions and help you stay healthy, not to judge you. A little preparation and courage will help you get the answers you need.
I am a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on business, health and other various topics. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication from UCLA and currently reside in Santa Cruz with my dog, Sassy.