We all get embarrassed every once in a while. But when it comes to your health, you can’t just ignore your symptoms because you’re too mortified to discuss what’s going on. Doing so might make the issue even worse.
Whether you’re dealing with chronic bad breath, experiencing vaginal burning, or struggling to get an erection, you can overcome these symptoms. How? By first understanding that what you’re experiencing is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of — and then by seeking treatment.
More often than not, embarrassing conditions can be diagnosed and treated discreetly. Thanks to online STI testing, medication delivery, and telehealth appointments, you can increasingly take care of your medical needs without leaving your house.
In this article, we discuss five embarrassing yet common medical conditions and how you can overcome them:
Chances are, you were taught about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Whether by your parents, your doctor, or in school, you were warned about the dangers of unprotected sex. You might even have been advised to get tested regularly.
Yet, according to a study by CDC researchers, young people at risk for STIs don’t usually get tested. Why? Because there’s a great deal of stigma surrounding such infections.
Being diagnosed with an STI can cause embarrassment, as can going to a doctor to be tested. Unfortunately, many STIs are asymptomatic, which is why they’re so easily passed from one person to the next. The only way to slow down the spread is with treatment — which an individual can only get after testing positive.
Instead of letting embarrassment stop you from keeping yourself and others healthy, test yourself privately. Nurx is one healthcare company that offers at-home STI testing. Their STI Home Test Kits let individuals check for common infections conveniently and confidentially in the privacy of their own homes.
At one point or another, everyone experiences constipation — even if they don’t talk about it. Feeling “backed up” isn’t necessarily a conversation starter, after all. But it is a widespread condition. In fact, more than 4 million people experience frequent constipation, which can cause bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
The good news is there are ways to combat that embarrassing ailment discreetly. Drinking more water, eating fiber regularly, and being as active as possible are all ways to encourage regular bowel movements.
Keep in mind that if constipation lingers (or you experience other symptoms like diarrhea or chronic upset stomach), it could be a sign of food intolerance. If that’s the case, you’ll want to confirm it. You can visit your doctor and take an allergen test, or you can order an at-home food sensitivity kit.
These at-home kits use a finger prick to check your body’s immune response to foods. With this information, you’ll learn what you’re allergic or sensitive to so you can eliminate those foods and avoid abdominal distress.
Most women are familiar with the occasional itch “down there.” But what happens when that itch turns into full-on discomfort? Whether it’s a burning, tingling, or strong odor, any sort of vaginal discomfort can be alarming and even embarrassing. You might start to ask yourself whether something is seriously wrong with you. After all, vaginal discomfort can’t be normal, right? Wrong!
While vaginal discomfort can be humiliating to discuss, it’s fairly commonplace and not necessarily a sign of something major. In fact, a frequent cause of vaginal discomfort is poor hygiene from not wiping well enough or wiping too aggressively.
Discomfort can even be caused by stress (yes, really). An increased amount of stress can impact your vaginal walls and cause itching, burning, and other types of discomfort. Or an ingredient in your soap or toilet paper could be the problem.
Before jumping to the worst conclusion, switch up the products you use and eliminate stress from your life. A few lifestyle changes might be all you need to ease the discomfort.
The most common symptom of erectile dysfunction is not able to get or keep an erection. Because of the negative connotations associated with not performing, some men choose to suffer in silence. But without treatment, ED can cause stress and might even negatively impact your relationship.
Approximately 5% of 40-year-old men have complete erectile dysfunction, a percentage that climbs with age. Even though it’s a common condition, doctors report that many patients who schedule appointments for ED give a decoy reason for visiting. A patient might tell the receptionist they want to have their prostate examined when, in actuality, they’re worried about erectile dysfunction.
Regardless of how embarrassed you might be, you need to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing ED. Even if your doctor prescribes medication, you needn’t go to the pharmacy to pick it up. They can offer a variety of treatment options, and you can still keep your condition private. You can have the medication delivered right to your doorstep, preserving your privacy.
Sweating while exercising in the gym or walking outside is normal. But do you sweat when you’re not supposed to? As much as you’d like to hide your excessive sweating (also known as hyperhidrosis) and forget about it, that’s no solution.
Excessive sweating could be a sign of an underlying condition, and that’s why you should talk to your doctor. But even if there isn’t a hidden cause, your doctor can help you determine how to treat your hyperhidrosis. They may recommend starting with lifestyle changes like wearing breathable fabrics and moisture-wicking socks or showering with antibacterial soap. Medical treatments range from topical creams and nerve blockers to prescription antidepressants you can try if those aren’t enough.
According to a survey commissioned by Pancreatic Cancer Action, 27% of respondents cited being embarrassed because they would not go to the doctor. Not wanting to discuss your uncomfortable symptoms is common. So common, in fact, that doctors have a name for it: the doorknob moment. That’s when a doctor reaches for the exam room door, and the patient finally opens up about the real reason for their visit. While you might feel inclined to keep your embarrassing symptoms private, the only way to get better is by being honest and open. The longer you keep quiet, the worse your condition can become.