Do you know which lies you shouldn’t tell your doctor? Okay, so we all know that honesty is the best policy, but a study by Columbia University found that half of women aged between 25 and 49 regularly lie to their doctor. And it’s totally normal to stretch the truth a little sometimes, especially when it comes to embarrassing topics, because people don’t like being judged or scolded. There are definitely some lies you shouldn't tell your doctor, though, regardless of how embarrassing they are. Misleading your doctor on these topics can seriously sabotage your health.
Nobody wants to think that they drink more than the average person, and some people are genuinely unaware that their habits are excessive. There’s a good reason your doctor needs to know how much you drink, though, and it’s not so that they can judge or scold you. Drinking four or five alcoholic drinks in a single night, enjoying a glass of wine with most dinners or drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day means you are more at risk for heart or liver diseases, high blood pressure, strokes, gastrointestinal problems and memory issues. Drinking more than three drinks a day can also increase the risk of breast cancer by up to 30%. Your doctor needs to know how likely you are to have these conditions, so be honest. It can even lead to scary side effects or stop your medicines from working…so open up, and you’ll get much better care. Alcohol is definitely one of those lies you shouldn’t tell your doctor.
Extreme diets and detoxes are responsible for a whole host of conditions that are becoming more and more common, from kidney function problems to odd protein levels. If you are dieting, you’re also more likely to have blood sugar imbalances, loss of muscle mass, vitamin deficiencies or be dehydrated. Sometimes, you need nutritional advice rather than medical advice, so be honest about your eating habits and any new diets you’ve tried.
There’s two main reasons people don’t mention their digestive issues: they are embarrassed, or they think it’s normal. If you regularly experience bloating, gas or constipation, you could have a digestive problem. It could be something like milk intolerance or celiac disease, or a sign of something more serious like ovarian cancer or an autoimmune disease. Your doctor won’t know unless they know the symptoms, so forget being embarrassed and tell your doctor the details. Honestly, she’s seen and heard it all before.
When your doctor asks about medications, they mean everything. So that includes herbal remedies, vitamins and health mixes, along with anything you’ve been prescribed. Herbs like kava, which is often taken as a relaxant, can damage your liver. Too much vitamin E can cause bruising or bleeding, and some supplements can really affect prescribed meds. Mention everything, and make sure the tablets you’re buying to make you healthier aren’t responsible for your problems.
Condoms are one of those things that everyone should just use, and admitting that you didn’t can be mortifying. It’s worth the embarrassment, though: sex without a condom can spread HPV, which can turn into cervical cancer, a disease that kills 4,000 women each year. There’s also a whole host of STDs that don’t have obvious symptoms, and that can cause infertility if left untreated.
If you’ve ever caught an STD, you need to be honest about it, even if it was cured a long time ago. Some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be the cause behind infertility. Some conception problems can be caused by scar tissue from previous STDs, and knowing the problem can help you treat it much quicker. Scar tissue can even be responsible for heavy periods and painful cramping. It might be mortifying, but be honest. It’s well worth it, and nobody is judging.
Smoking is another of the lies you shouldn’t tell your doctor, and that’s the case even if you are a rare or social smoker. More than one in ten people who smoke occasionally hide it from their doctor, claiming that if you don’t smoke regularly, you aren’t at risk. But there is no safe level of exposure to cigarettes, and even just one cigarette can put you at risk of a number of conditions. Smoking is linked to a whole host of conditions that need quick treatment, such as stroke, emphysema, lung cancer, sinus problems and upper respiratory infections, so be honest and you’ll get the right treatment much faster.
If you can, it’s always easiest to be completely honest and upfront about your lifestyle, diet and health, but if you need to lie, just avoid these lies you shouldn’t tell your doctor. Being upfront about these issues will help you get the right diagnosis and treatment quickly, and prevent any unnecessary invasive techniques! And remember, you can always write down what you need to say, if that’s easier. Got a tip on sharing health information with your doctor, or what not to hide? I’d love to hear it!
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