30 Secrets NEVER to Keep from Your Doctor from 30 Secrets NEVER to Keep from Your Doctor

30 Secrets NEVER to Keep from Your Doctor

Full Story
30 Secrets NEVER to Keep from Your Doctor

istockphoto.com

30 Secrets NEVER to Keep from Your Doctor

Doctor’s visits can be tricky to navigate. After waiting in the reception area for longer than you anticipated, you finally make it into a room. Your vitals are checked. You’re asked a couple of preliminary questions. You wait some more. Then, finally, the doctor strolls in. You have just a few minutes of his or her time at your disposal — doctors are busy people! How do you know what to tell them and what information is a waste of time to report?

There are all kinds of reasons you might be inclined to keep something from your doctor. You might not think it’s an important enough detail. You might be embarrassed. Or you might just not be sure that your concern is valid at all.

When in doubt, you should always tell your doctor what’s on your mind. Even though the visit is packed within a short time window, your appointments are meant to serve you. Don’t be shy on the information. Doctors aren’t always the best at listening to their patients. But it’s worth the effort to make sure they hear your concerns.

Without testing for every possible condition in the book, it’s difficult for your doctor to always tell what’s going on by just looking. That’s why it’s up to you to report your symptoms. Leaving things out might be OK sometimes, but other times it could be costly to your treatment plan. These 30 secrets should never be kept from your doctor, no matter what.

Your Drinking Habits

istockphoto.com

Your Drinking Habits

“How many drinks do you typically have per week?” It’s asked at every appointment — and lied about almost as often. But drinking too much can have serious consequences on your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol was responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year from 2006 to 2010. You may not want to be lectured, but it’s important for your doctors to know what’s really going on so they can look out for warning signs of any health problems that may be caused by alcohol.

Your Smoking Habits

istockphoto.com

Your Smoking Habits

Even if you only smoke occasionally — or use the classic “I only smoke when I’m drunk!” excuse — you should tell your doctor. According to a study from 2013, one in 10 smokers won’t fess up to their doctors. Omitting this information prevents your physician from providing you with the best resources for you to quit. Again, you may not want a lecture, but your doctor’s job is to look out for your health. And smoking is really bad for you. However, there are other reasons your doctor needs to know this information. Smoking can affect the way doctors treat certain infections such as bronchitis.

Your Drug Habits

istockphoto.com

Your Drug Habits

It’s not in your doctor’s job description to report or arrest you. It is, however, a medical provider’s job to take care of you. Drugs can interfere with certain test results and symptoms. If your doctor is under the impression you haven’t done any illegal drugs when you have, he or she may assume something else is causing the abnormalities.

The Supplements You Take

istockphoto.com

The Supplements You Take

When your doctors ask about medications, they’re asking about anything you get over-the-counter, too. This includes supplements! While you may think your gummy vitamin is harmless, you should report it anyway. Certain supplements can interfere with medications, so you want to warn your medical providers before they prescribe you anything. Calcium supplements, for instance, could interfere with the absorption of some antibiotics. Activated charcoal could even interfere with birth control pills.

Anxiety Levels

istockphoto.com

Anxiety Levels

Are you feeling extra stressed lately? It might not be just a passing phase. Anxiety is a very real mental health concern — one that could require medical attention. Tell your doctor if your anxiety is ramping up so that he or she can give you the appropriate resources to help you feel better.

Depression

istockphoto.com

Depression

It’s not always the most comfortable to talk about, but your mental health deserves attention. Side effects of depression can be dangerous, detracting from your well-being and even risking your life. Tell your doctor about your depressive symptoms so that he or she can direct you to resources that may help.

Your Family History

istockphoto.com

Your Family History

Many people withhold this information simply because they don’t think mundane details about their family members’ health are important. But there’s a reason your doctor asks for this info. From your family history, your medical providers can glean all kinds of insight into risk factors and recommend preventive measures for diseases that run in your family.

Whether You’re Sexually Active

istockphoto.com

Whether You’re Sexually Active

This one’s more commonly lied about by younger patients. Whether or not your parents know, your doctor needs to know whether or not you’ve been having sex. It’s important to keep up to date with testing for sexually transmitted infections, to ensure you’re using the proper birth control, and to be monitored for other related conditions. Your doctors aren’t there to judge you — they’re there to keep you safe and healthy!

Your Diet

istockphoto.com

Your Diet

So you indulged a little extra this month. A little white lie and some doughnuts never hurt anyone, right? Wrong. Your diet habits, even the seemingly innocuous ones, could be more harmful than you think. When your doctor monitors for diet-related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, it’s important that he or she knows about the dietary habits that might be feeding into them. That way, you can get the correct advice to mitigate any harm your diet may be causing.

Changes in Appetite

istockphoto.com

Changes in Appetite

Sure, it might seem like no big deal that you’re never hungry when dinner rolls around. But a sharp decrease in appetite could signal a serious underlying condition. The same goes for if you’re always starving, even when you eat consistent meals. Sharp changes in your metabolism or a loss of interest in food could mean something else is going on with your body.

Recent Weight Changes

istockphoto.com

Recent Weight Changes

Are you losing weight and you’re not sure why? You might welcome this unexpected change, but you want to clue your doctor in to what’s going on. Same goes for weight gain — it’s not the most comfortable thing to fess up, but weight gain is often a symptom of something else. Be honest with your doctor about any recent changes in your weight.

Your Exercise Habits

istockphoto.com

Your Exercise Habits

Does your doctor really need to know that you skipped the gym all of last week? Maybe not, but they do your provides does need to know whether you’ve been exercising regularly. Lack of exercise can contribute to all kinds of health risks, including cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Keep your doctor up to date on your fitness regime so he or she can keep an eye out for risk factors.

When You’re Uncomfortable

istockphoto.com

When You’re Uncomfortable

Your doctor’s visit might not be fun, but it shouldn’t be altogether unpleasant. If you ever feel disrespected, unheard, or mistreated by your care providers, make sure you speak up — or go see a different doctor. In order to get the best medical treatment possible, it’s important to have a positive relationship with the doctors taking care of you.

What You Want from Your Visit

istockphoto.com

What You Want from Your Visit

It might not seem like it at times, but your doctor works for you. If you have a specific topic in mind that you want to address, make it known in your appointment! Doctors see so many patients every day; they’re not always the best at listening. Unfortunately, it’s largely up to you whether your concerns are listened to or glossed over. Tell your doctor exactly what you expect from your visit and exactly what you need. The more open the conversation, the better.

Your Treatment Isn’t Working

istockphoto.com

Your Treatment Isn’t Working

It can be uncomfortable to tell medical professionals that their treatment idea wasn’t the success they expected. But don’t be afraid to tell your doctors that your treatment needs a change of course. Lying to them won’t do you any good! There are likely other treatment options for you to explore together. The same thing goes for reporting side effects or treatment plans that don’t work for your lifestyle. Is your medication giving you uncomfortable side effects such as anxiety or insomnia? Always tell your doctor. Is your doctor prescribing you a medication that doesn’t mix with alcohol, but you often drink casually with friends? You might be OK with laying off the booze, but if your lifestyle often interferes, make sure you let your providers know. There might be options that are a better fit for you.

How Much Sleep You’re Getting

istockphoto.com

How Much Sleep You’re Getting

The side effects of sleep deprivation can be severe. Clue your doctor in to your sleep habits so he or she can know which effects to look for. Additionally, insomnia can be a symptom of something else going on with your mental or physical health. Your doctor may be able to help you find the source of the issue so you can get better sleep.

If You’re Taking Your Medicines

istockphoto.com

If You’re Taking Your Medicines

Patients often lie about whether or not they’ve kept up with their prescribed medications. But this can actually be really dangerous. Say, for instance, a patient has been prescribed blood pressure medication. If the patient tells the doctor he or she has been taking it but really hasn’t, the doctor may assume the dosage is not working. The patient could end up prescribed with a dose that’s higher than what was actually needed. Your doctor isn’t there to judge you — be honest when you’ve slipped up!

Bladder Problems

istockphoto.com

Bladder Problems

Bladder problems, which could be anything from constant urination or blood in your urine, are worth reporting. You could have an infection of some kind or a significant problem with your kidneys.

Constipation

istockphoto.com

Constipation

No one likes to talk about bathroom issues. But constipation is more than uncomfortable — it’s probably an indication that something else is going on. This could be caused by something relatively benign, such as a nutrient that’s missing from your diet or a need for more water. It could also be something more serious. Your doctor may be able to easily spot what’s causing your constipation.

Diarrhea

istockphoto.com

Diarrhea

It was bad enough to experience the bowel problems in the first place. Now you have to explain them to your doctor, too?! Yes, you do. Though diarrhea might not seem like anything to be alarmed about, it could be a sign of another issue. Plus, if the diarrhea was severe, you may have lost a large amount of fluids. Let your doctor monitor your vitals and help you to replenish whatever nutrients you need.

Memory Loss

istockphoto.com

Memory Loss

Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can be caught early — if you know what signs to look for. Of course, some memory changes are totally normal. Everyone forgets things now and then. But a medical professional will be able to tell whether or not these lapses in memory are reason for worry. According to the Mayo Clinic, memory loss sometimes occurs for treatable reasons such as a vitamin deficiency or thyroid condition.

Blood in Your Stool

istockphoto.com

Blood in Your Stool

It’s awkward to bring up, but finding blood in your stool is cause for concern. Reporting this could actually save your life — it’s a symptom of colorectal cancer, as well as some other serious medical problems. The sooner you catch these ailments, the better.

Decreased Sex Drive

istockphoto.com

Decreased Sex Drive

People aren’t always open to sharing information about their sex lives — but your sexual health is an integral part of your overall wellness. Fight off the embarrassment and let your doctor know what’s going on if you’ve lost interest in bed. This can often be a physical symptom of a medical condition such as anxiety, depression, a nutrient deficiency, or chronic stress.

Your Medical History

istockphoto.com

Your Medical History

From the wisdom teeth surgery you had in high school to the peanut allergy you discovered in grade school, your medical history is essential for your doctor to know during your visit. This is especially important if you’re seeing a new doctor for the first time. The background information you give will help inform any treatments the doctor chooses to prescribe.

You’re Seeing Other Doctors

istockphoto.com

You’re Seeing Other Doctors

Unlike your significant other, your doctor definitely won’t be angry at you seeing other people. You’re allowed to seek a second opinion — just keep your doctors in the loop about the treatment you’ve tried and the tests you’ve undergone. The more information you can give to your care providers, the better they’ll be able to take care of you.

Recent Emotional Trauma

istockphoto.com

Recent Emotional Trauma

Even though it’s not a physical condition, severe emotional trauma can have a significant effect on certain symptoms. Emotional pain can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Let your doctor know what’s going on so these factors can be taken into account.

Irregular Periods

istockphoto.com

Irregular Periods

An irregular menstrual period is more than just a mere annoyance. This could signal an underlying hormonal issue, a problem with your birth control, or even an eating disorder, among other potential causes. Some of these could interfere with your fertility if they go untreated. It could be nothing, but let your doctor know so that anything preventable or serious can be ruled out.

Erectile Dysfunction

istockphoto.com

Erectile Dysfunction

Guys, you’re not off the hook, either. Erectile dysfunction is uncomfortable to verbalize, but you really need to let your doctor know. It happens now and then, but if you face a consistent problem, you should speak up. A healthy sex life is an integral part of your overall physical wellness, and erectile dysfunction is nothing to brush under the rug. This could be caused by another health issue that you can work with your doctor to treat.

Herbal Medicines

istockphoto.com

Herbal Medicines

Even if you and your doctor disagree on your herbal remedy regimen, you should still keep him or her in the loop. Herbs and other forms of alternative medicines can have noticeable effects on your symptoms. Some may even interfere with certain doctor-prescribed medications. Protect yourself from any potentially dangerous interactions by letting your doctor know what you’re taking.

“Small” Symptoms

istockphoto.com

“Small” Symptoms

You might not think that a headache or a back pain is something large enough to report, but you really should. The worst that could happen is that your doctor tells you it’s no big deal — but it could be a sign of a bigger problem. These “small” symptoms, for example, could signal something serious.