Doctor answers awkward health questions you're too embarrassed to ask

Doctor answers the awkward health questions you’re too embarrassed to ask – from feeling bloated and ‘gassy’ to whether your discharge is REALLY normal

  • Leading GP Dr Preeya Alexander answered some embarrassing health questions
  • The Australian doctor said people are awkward when asking about discharge
  • She said other issues they may feel uncomfortable about include mood swings
  • But the GP said you shouldn’t feel awkward when speaking about your health 

Leading general practitioner Dr Preeya Alexander has answered some of the most embarrassing and awkward health questions – including why you feel bloated and ‘windy’ all the time and whether your discharge is really normal.

The Australian doctor has teamed up with Priceline to shed a light on health conditions that patients are often too embarrassed to talk about, after the pharmaceutical giant discovered that nearly half (47 per cent) of women have googled symptoms because they felt too awkward to turn to their GP.

‘It’s normal to feel awkward when asking about a condition, but your pharmacist or GP is here to help you with all of your healthcare needs,’ Dr Alexander told FEMAIL.

‘We don’t want you to suffer in silence and we are here to help.’

Leading general practitioner Dr Preeya Alexander (pictured) has answered some of the most embarrassing and awkward health questions – including why you feel bloated and ‘windy’

1. I think I smell different ‘down there’. Why? 

The first question Dr Alexander said she is asked about frequently is smelling different ‘down there’ and what a patient can do about it.

‘Thinking you smell different can be due to a range of factors, but vaginal discharge and smell can be completely normal, or it may change due to conditions like thrush or bacterial vaginosis,’ Dr Alexander said.

‘The key things we need to know if you are experiencing a change in vaginal odour is if it’s associated with other symptoms like discharge and pain.’

The GP added that sometimes a doctor may know from the patient’s history alone what is going on, while at other times they may need to perform swabs to ‘confirm the diagnosis’. 

Dr Alexander (pictured) said people are often embarrassed to ask about why they might not feel like themselves, but this problem often relates to both mood and stress

What are the statistics around embarrassing health problems? 

* Nearly half (47 per cent) of women have googled symptoms because they were too embarrassed to turn to a health professional or discuss their health concerns with family (32 per cent), friends (25 per cent) or a partner (20 per cent). 

* Some 38 per cent of women experienced an uncomfortable condition for longer than necessary.

* Meanwhile, 22 per cent avoided seeking help all together or refused to collect medicine from a pharmacy because they were too embarrassed.

* The conditions deemed as too awkward to ask about include gas, bloating or constipation (31 per cent), facial acne (20 per cent), excessive sweating (18 per cent), thrush (18 per cent), incontinence (16 per cent), heavy periods (15 per cent), sensitive skin (14 per cent), and body acne (9 per cent). 

* 3 in 10 (31 per cent) of women who have experienced gas, bloating or constipation have felt embarrassed about having the condition, while 15 per cent have felt embarrassed about having heavy periods and 18 per cent have felt embarrassed about having thrush.

2. Why don’t I feel myself?

Dr Alexander said people are often embarrassed to ask about why they might not feel like themselves.

But this problem regularly relates to mood and stress, and is vitally important to discuss such issues with a medical professional.

‘Don’t see this as embarrassing as it will be down to your overall mood or stress,’ Dr Alexander said.

‘We will need to take a full history to nut out all the issues and find out what’s going on.’

3. Why am I bloated and ‘windy’?

Bloating and trapped wind are commonplace medical problems, and Dr Alexander has seen them in myriad forms plenty of times in the past.

‘Gut problems for some reason generate embarrassment,’ she said.

‘Bloating and wind can be due to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or something else like coeliac disease – so it’s worth a chat and a check!’ 

4. Why do I keep breaking out on my face, chest and back?

‘Acne and skin issues are something we see commonly in general practice,’ Dr Alexander said.

‘And there are plenty of things we can do to help breakouts – from lifestyle tweaks to medication options – so talk to us!’

The GP added that it doesn’t matter how inflamed or widespread your acne is, it’s always worth speaking to someone.

Sometimes, all you need is to ditch a trigger in your diet, whether that is gluten, dairy or something even as basic as your breakfast choice.

‘Gut problems for some reason generate embarrassment,’ Dr Alexander said. But they can be down to something normal like IBS or coeliac disease (stock image)

5. I have discharge and I don’t know if it is normal, can you help?

In the same way that you might be worried about being different ‘down there’ but too scared to ask, so too are worries about your discharge being normal completely commonplace.

‘Again, this can be due to a range of factors from sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia to thrush and bacterial vaginosis,’ Dr Alexander said.

‘It’s worth reminding women that vaginal discharge can be completely normal, particularly around ovulation in the menstrual cycle or pregnancy.’

But – as with everything – if you’re worried about it, just ask. 

If you do want to discuss something embarrassing and feel awkward about it, Dr Alexander (pictured) said the best thing to do is ‘find the right health professional for you’

What are the tips Dr Alexander offers to speak about something awkward?

If you do want to discuss something embarrassing and feel awkward about it, Dr Alexander said the best thing to do is ‘find the right health professional for you’.

‘Wait until you find someone you feel safe and comfortable with,’ she said.

‘We don’t want you to suffer in silence.’

The GP added that if you have a condition that needs professional help, find your local pharmacist or GP.

‘Say the mantra in your head: “They have seen this one million times before, I am not the first” and go for it,’ she said. 

Priceline Pharmacy offer an extensive range of healthcare services. You can find your local Priceline Pharmacy here to speak to your local pharmacist.

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