9 Embarrassing Details You Should Never Hide from Your Doctor

There are moments in life when we meet a new doctor for the first time, and therefore they are not aware of our medical history. There will be times when the new doctor asks us an embarrassing and intimate question which we might not feel comfortable answering or cases where we might refrain from providing medical information that we think isn’t necessary.

In each of these situations, hiding information for reasons of embarrassment or fear is a mistake that can be very harmful to your health. Even if you want to avoid weird stares from the medical staff, it's best to learn to deal with the stares rather than lie or hide vital information. These are the nine details that you should never hide from your doctor, even if you are embarrassed.

1. Surgeries you’ve had

There are medical procedures that we do not want to reveal to our doctor, whether it be plastic surgery or an embarrassing operation that involves an intimate organ. Often we feel that there is no reason to disclose this information to a doctor who is not dealing with a problem to do with the said organ or field in which we underwent a surgical procedure.

Even if the information does not seem relevant to you, it's important to remember that our doctor needs all medical information from your past to prevent future complications, and even more so when surgery involves scars, infections, anesthetics, allergic reactions and more.

2.Your age

There are different perceptions that accompany age and they give rise to the expectation that we have to behave and look a certain way. This is why, as we age we choose to either not disclose the number or even lie about it so as to not have to deal with these preconceptions.  

Of course, if you do this in a social or professional setting, it’s less significant and harmful than when you lie about your age to your doctor. Not only does this break the trust between the patient and the doctor, this information is necessary for the treatment and tests you’ll receive.


3. Your Diet

One of the hardest things for people to admit is that their heavy weight is caused by eating. We find it difficult to admit that we don’t always have control over what we put in our mouths and that sometimes we are greedy and lustful for food - and most of us are. Although it is clear to us that our doctor won’t believe that our extra weight isn’t coming from excessive food consumption, we still try to explain it off by blaming a slow metabolism, or "heavy bones".

Of course, there are medical problems that affect our weight, but in every situation, when we talk to our doctor and dietitian, it is important that we admit everything, even if the information is embarrassing. The job of the professional is not to scold us, but to help us get to the treatment, and find the solution we need. If we give them wrong information, we are likely to receive inappropriate treatment that is not suited to our needs.

4. How you take medicine

Our relationship with doctors can sometimes resemble the relationship between a teacher and a student. We feel they expect us to follow their instructions to the T, and if we don’t, we’d rather hide the fact than to face their disappointed look. If for example, you received a prescription and returned to your doctor complaining that it isn’t working, there is no point in lying and saying that you took it regularly if you didn’t.

There are various medications and ointments whose effects depend on the consistency of use, and therefore such false information can cause your doctor to replace it with stronger medication that can be harmful to you.


5. Smoking and drinking

Many of us are embarrassed to admit to our doctors that we smoke or drink alcohol, but failing to do so could cause significant damage to our health. This is particularly common if we aren’t supposed to smoke or drink due to a medical condition. We know this is a terrible habit that we must get rid of, but since we’ve not yet succeeded in doing so, we prefer to lie about it than to feel shame.

Some of us say that we don’t smoke or drink at all, and hope that the smell isn’t evident, and some of us will “cut down” the number of cigarettes or cups of alcohol we say we consume daily. The problem is that not only are we lying to ourselves and to the doctor, but we can be causing ourselves damage. Nicotine, for example, has a decisive effect on postoperative healing, and many surgeons will not agree to operate on you if you smoke, for fear of significant scarring and damage to your skin. 

6. The nutritional supplements you take

Although we are often not asked about it face-to-face or even in medical questionnaires, dietary supplements are not something to hide from your doctor. In fact, you should take the initiative and tell your doctor what nutritional supplements you are taking, because some of them may have a harmful effect when combined with other medications. For example, vitamin E supplements affect blood thinning and may, therefore, be an important supplement to stop taking prior to surgery.

In addition, some patients are embarrassed to admit to their doctor that they are following the advice of an "alternative doctor" for fear of offending the official physician's authority and expressing skepticism about his recommendations. Despite the reservations, remember that it is your right to consult with anyone you want, and it is your duty to inform the professionals about your history and medical habits.


7. Use of recreational drugs

Although the use of recreational drugs has become a common phenomenon, there are still people who choose to deny their use to their doctor. 

Despite the built-in reservations, it is important to remember that medical diagnosis depends on many different factors, and similar symptoms can be related to different types of disease. Therefore, full transparency about your drug consumption habits is crucial to the quality and accuracy of your diagnosis and treatment.

8. Your mental health

The idea of sharing our feelings with a "normal" doctor rather than with a psychologist, psychiatrist or other authorized therapeutic agent sounds irrelevant and even embarrassing. Sometimes we do not feel comfortable talking about feelings of depression or anxiety with a person who is not a mental or spiritual therapist, and feel that this is not the place to confess what is really happening to us. As with other reservations, here too we are sometimes afraid of things being documented in our medical file, but shame should not be what prevents us from having access to optimal medical treatment.

Your family doctor has the ability, authority and knowledge to prescribe antidepressants if you need them, and to explore other possible causes of your feelings of depression, in order to find the right treatment. Therefore, it is very important that you find doctors that you feel you can open up to and establish a connection with, ones that are attentive to your needs, even if it involves effort.


9. Your intimate habits 

There are intimate things that we prefer not to talk about, even when it comes to an authoritative and professional figure. Questions about our sex life and habits, for example, will sometimes be blocked by us because we don’t want to involve other people in our most personal decisions. Although it is completely understandable if you want to hide intimate details about your sexual life, it can be very important in the treatment and diagnosis that your doctor can offer you.
If you are asked a personal question by the doctor, ask him why the inquiry is of medical importance and try to be completely honest. As part of the Patient's Rights Act, your doctor is required to maintain your medical confidentiality, and if there is any sensitive information that you do not want to appear on your medical record, make it clear to your doctor in advance - he may know a way to record the treatment you need without disclosing the context that concerns your private business.
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