How to talk about embarrassing stuff with your doctor
A lot of advice we give here at betty involves going to see your doctor. Worried about your period? Go and see your doctor. Boobs hurting? Go and see your doctor. Bumhole uncomfortable? Um, go and see your doctor.
But we hear your panic, betty-lovers! We hear your cries of:
“BUT IT’S TOO EMBARRASSING.”
“WHAT IF THEY NEED TO SEE MY BOOBS OR FANNY?”
“HOW DO I EVEN START TELLING THEM?”
“DO I HAVE TO DO IT ON MY OWN?!”
So instead of just once again gently nudging you in that direction, like a puppy wanting to play ball, we’ve spoken to two actual GPs and are here with a step-by-step guide on just HOW to go and talk to them.
1. Try and go WITH someone (and tell THEM the problem first)
A problem shared is a problem halved, and a problem halved before you’ve even walked into the GP room is a problem… really small and totally fine. Going along with a friend or family member will distract you in a much more effective way than frantically scrolling Insta in the waiting room, and they can encourage and empower you too.
2. Just spit out, like ripping off a plaster
The thinking about telling someone is always worse than actually telling them. Dr. Suzanne insists, “Chances are we’ve heard it all before! We won’t be shocked about what you say or show us.” Count to three in your head, then just: MY POO’S BLUE.
3. Be honest!
You’re completely allowed to feel terrified/embarrassed/upset/ashamed/grossed out/delete as appropriate about this, and you’re allowed to admit that too. The more honest you are with your GP about how you’re feeling, the better they can help you, and the better you’ll instantly feel too!
4. Doctors dedicate years of their life training for this – they must love it
Being a GP is tough. It takes a lot of time and effort.
“Before becoming a GP, doctors work in various hospital departments including gynecology (vaginas and stuff) and A&E so we’ve seen a LOT,” Dr Rachel says.
They’re gonna LOVE your weird rash! This is their job and they get paid to know the ins and outs of the human body. They’re ready. They signed the contract. They know what they’re getting into.
5. If you think they might be looking at your bits, give ‘em a wash
Sometimes a little bit of prep can go a long way. If your issue is with your bum or fanny, etc, then making sure they’re clean before you go will help you feel more in control of the situation. Do NOT spray it with perfume though, that definitely won’t help.
6. Own it and crack a joke
So your breath absolutely reeks and it ain’t normal. So what? Stroll into that GP’s office and tell them not to get too close because green steam is wafting out your mouth. Make it funny and it can’t hurt you. Everything becomes less serious and anxiety-ridden, and the atmosphere will chill… and become less green.
7. Remember they’ve always seen worse
Doctors see countless patients throughout their working week, month, and life. In the nicest possible way, they’ll forget all about you by tomorrow. They’ve seen every kind of bumhole, and heard of every kind of weird lump in bizarre places. They’ve seen it ALL.
It’s also worth remembering that anything you discuss will be confidential. They won’t go tweeting about the girl with three boobs after your appointment.
8. If all else fails, write it down
Sometimes your mind can scream MY NIPPLES ARE CRUSTY but your mouth just won’t work.
“Many surgeries will have the option of a phone consultation first if you think that will be more comfortable,” Dr. Rachel suggests. “And your GP would be absolutely fine with you writing down what you want to talk about and passing it to them as you come into the room.”
Just don’t write it down, slide it under your GP’s door and run away…
9. It’ll be over before you know it
GP appointments are 10 minutes max. That’s a third of an episode of EastEnders. No drama can be had in that time, and the actual admitting of the problem will be done before the title credits. Suddenly you’ll be skipping home and tweeting about how lovely your GP was with her finger up your bum (I may be speaking from experience).
10. When you’ve done it once, it’ll be forever easy
Without wanting to sound like your mum, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about! You’ll be racing to see your GP about every mouldy nook and hairy cranny.
11. Right, but what if my doctor is rubbish?
If you use our guide to bravely open up about your perpetual farting and feel let down by your GP’s response, don’t be disheartened and give up. You can speak to a receptionist and ask to see another GP – you are well within your rights.
“Sometimes there can be a worry that you will have to tell the receptionist what the problem is,” Dr. Suzanne mentions, “but please don’t worry. You can say it’s a personal matter and that’s absolutely fine.”
Not all GPs are the same and sometimes first is the worst and second the best. And if you’re the one with a hairy chest…. IT’S ALL OK. Promise.