There are some people that we work hard to impress. While this is necessary when we actually need to put the best foot forward, other times it’s for our own good to drop the acting routine. Sure, white lies and highlighting your best qualities only may land you that coveted job or internship, work wonders on that hard to please mother-in-law, or maybe even wow that exclusive daycare provider you’re hoping to get your child into, but your doctor doesn’t want to hear it.
That’s right, you heard me, they’re sick of your shenanigans, your fabrications, and all of the things you say you’re doing on social media that you’re actually not in real life. A recent survey shared by Psychology Today tabulated that we lie an average of 1.65 times in a 24 hour period. We’re guessing that this time period didn’t include a doctor’s appointment when people are fairly likely to at the very least gloss over some of their more negative health habits. Here’s the thing, this is information your doctor needs as a baseline to help you as a patient. They aren’t there to judge, no matter what you think, and the lies you’re telling aren’t helping anyone.
Here are 15 times you’re OBGYN knows you’re lying, so just stop, cause your health could depend on it!
15 The Not-So-Fresh Feeling
All of these euphemisms we’re raised with, to compare our lady bits to flowers, may be partially to blame for many people’s preconceived notions that their V’s should be odorless.
During an appointment, doctors need to get a real idea of the natural scent down there as an indication of overall health. If you have noticed a recent change to the smell of your vagina, particularly if there is a pungent foul or fishy smell that lasts for more than a few days, Dr. Lawson says, “While having an odor is normal, any changes or foul smells may be a sign of bacterial overgrowth or V infection."
Another change that women should be able to speak up about is when they are suffering from urinary or fecal incontinence which can sometimes be caused by birth of a large baby, or delivery using forceps or a vacuum to get baby out, or a worsening of incontinence brought on by menopause.
Dr. Lawson says, "Depending on the nature of the incontinence, there may be medical or surgical management options available. By talking with your gynecologist, she or he can determine the proper treatment protocols and refer you to a pelvic floor disorder specialist if necessary."
14 What Really Goes On In The Bedroom
For whatever reason talking honestly about life in the bedroom is something easier done at brunch with a bunch of BFF’s like on Sex and the City than it can be with your doctor. While your doctor doesn’t need a ranking of the performance of all of your partners, they do need to know some important facts, like if you’re monogamous or if you really use a condom, every, single, time you engage in between the sheets play. They really don’t care about the ethics of you cheating on your spouse, and they’d rather you just confess already.
Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones says of sexual health surveys, “midlife women 45 to 64, so this isn't just young folks who are lying, women 45 to 64 were twice as likely to admit to an occasional or unconventional sexual partner in an anonymous survey compared to when asked by their doctor. So they were twice as likely to tell the truth about a new sexual partner if it were anonymous than when asked in the office.”
Expecting moms should be treated for STI’s because they can be passed through the birth canal to the baby, so it’s better your doctor is prepared than your child faced with an unfortunate aftermath from that one night stand. STI’s can also scar the fallopian tubes which may make it harder to conceive, and that’s something they’d rather know in advance than find you didn’t bother to tell them.
13 'I Don't Have Pain Down There'
There can be a lot of different reasons for pain and it’s not a good idea to skim over it. Many women experience regular cramps each month, but if suddenly it becomes unbearable, tell your doctor. Dr. Shari Lawson says, painful periods can be symptoms of fibroids or endometriosis and adds, "It's important to speak with your doctor about this, as there are many solutions that can make these conditions more manageable. You don't need to suffer in silence."
Swelling, bumps, or growths around the V could simply be an ingrown hair, but it might be time to have your doctor perform an exam if you’re feeling something.
Lawson says, "Genital warts may be visible for some time, but herpes lesions can heal over seven to 14 days, making it important to be seen when the outbreak is occurring."
Other issues that may come into play include vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. Dryness can increase as a woman ages, or if she’s on specific birth control for a longer period of time. For specific problems your OBGYN can help and may even prescribe a type of vaginal estrogen to help make relations pleasurable again.
When it comes to painful intercourse, don’t be afraid to speak up, particularly if lubricants aren’t helping or if there is bleeding after relations.
12 Keeping Quiet About The Pills You Take
All sorts of things can mess with your medication, even if it’s an herb you buy in the supplement section of the drug store. Did you know that taking something as simple as St. John’s Wort to help bust up those winter blues can impact the effectiveness of birth control pills.
Dr. Ford says, “Patients [often] neglect to tell us about the pills they take because it was over-the-counter or it was [a friend’s]. So they don't tell us, and we might miss something.” Borrowing a friend’s medication for recreation or a migraine shouldn’t happen, but if it does – just tell your doctor. What people either don’t realize, or don’t want to detail for their doctor is that absolutely everything they do – the air they breathe, the medicine they take, the food they eat will impact their health.
Dr. Dweck says avoiding these omissions is a key puzzle piece to maintaining your health and, "A little pet peeve of mine is not knowing what supplements people are taking. You ask them about medications, and they say, 'I just take Tylenol,' and they fail to tell you that they're taking five over the counter herbal supplements, things that could interfere with fertility or cause bleeding."
11 Exaggerating Your Symptoms
If you’re trying to get a note for your employer for an illness you don’t have or are trying to get your hands on a prescription for pain medication, medical professionals, much like bartenders, are trained to know when to cut you off.
One nurse from New York City says, "If you're happily texting and laughing with your friends until the second you spot me walking into your room, I'm not going to believe that your pain is a ten out of ten."
Doctors make notes in their files on everything from your medical history to your temperament, so if they smell poop, and this is a recurring theme, they’re going to remember it. This also means, that much like ‘the boy or girl who cried wolf’, no one is going to believe you when you really do have some medical concerns that need attention.
The same goes for vanity lies when filling out medical forms, you may think it won’t matter but it does. Dr. Shafer told The Reader’s Digest, "If a patient tells me they are 49 but then their insurance card shows a birthday indicating they are 57, I have to wonder if the patient is lying about anything else."
It may seem like no big deal to lie about your age, common and diagnosis for ailments associated with particular ages might be missed because you're not telling the truth.
10 'I Don't Drink'
This isn’t a no consequence lie- this is your own grown-up life and your doctor needs to know how much you’re drinking on a regular basis, and whether or not some of your frat boy party habits have stayed long after college has ended.
Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones says, “Not telling the truth can lead you to getting the wrong prescription or the wrong dose or the wrong diagnosis. Drug and alcohol use can cause symptoms that might be treated the wrong way or the patient might be given the wrong diagnosis if the patient lies about their substance abuse. This is a really big problem. We know that denial is part of addiction but boy does it cost money and heartache. It's also enormously expensive when physicians go down one road, have investigation and tests when they shouldn't have if the patient had told the truth.”
Many doctors automatically assume that you’re downplaying your drinking habits and some will even take this into consideration – apparently, only one in six patients will be the ones to bring up what they’re drinking in the exam room.
Dr. Brian Doyle says usually, “Whatever a patient tells [us] is half of what they actually do drink.”
Being honest about drinking can help your doctor get to the real root cause of abnormal test results such as elevated liver enzymes.
9 Pretending You Only Eat Healthily
Doctors are human beings, not robots, so odds are they like to indulge in the occasional Twinkie just like you do – so just admit it. But for whatever reason people are likely to say they eat a balanced diet, even when they’re not. A recent anonymous survey showed that around 50 percent of women lie to their doctor, particularly in exaggerating to what degree they’re really practicing healthy, real food based habits.
If you’ve had a run where you can’t get enough sugar or salt, just tell them – it may provide some insight to some other vitamins missing in your diet, or help them allow you to adjust your diet in a meaningful way.
Dr. Arthur says, “Often people with diabetes, high cholesterol, or obesity will say that they don't eat anything 'bad' and can't understand why their labs are still abnormal or they aren't losing weight, (but) when asked point-blank if they are eating saturated fats or processed sugars they often say 'no' even when their labs tell another story."
When doctors have put you on specific diets and these lifestyle changes are too difficult to manage, speak up and they can help you make adjustments that you can actually maintain. Another note, if you happened to indulge in something really sweet or fatty right before your blood work, when you normally don’t, let the doctor know so they don’t read too much into a slightly off blood test result.
8 ... And You Exercise Daily
I have had some time periods of my life when I am really motivated towards my fitness. There are others when I absolutely have not been able to stick to a regular workout. A sudden lack of energy or motivation could be due to an iron deficiency and is likely worth mentioning to your physician. If you were once a gym rat who, now that you’re a parent can’t seem to find the time or energy to hit the gym, tell your doctor, don’t pretend you’re still spending marathon levels of time committed to fitness. Odds are your body is going to reveal your truth anyway.
Your medical professional can help you narrow down the reasons behind your sudden lack of motivation, which may not be just a matter of time or willpower. Janet Hamilton, an exercise physiologist says, “When someone is struggling with their energy in the middle of a workout, the first thing to do is look at what their life has been like over the last few weeks,” says Hamilton. "Have you been sleeping well and getting regular me time?”
Another thing to consider, according to Hamilton is, “Allergies and asthma (exercise-induced or otherwise) can make getting air a struggle.”
7 'I've Never Ever Had An STI'
Would you feel reluctant to tell a doctor you were epileptic? Probably not because you understand it’s important for them to know about how a disease or condition you have may impact medical treatment or would create specific symptoms. So many people believe that owning up to an STI will make them seem ‘gross’ or ‘dirty’ and it’s not true.
Dr. Ross says that although this perception is common, it’s not worth risking your health and that STIs happen no matter what your sexual preference, socioeconomic, ethnic or religious background. Getting an STI doesn’t change who you are as a person. Dr. Ross adds, “You can’t think that way.”
Many STIs are completely treatable, so speak up and get help and be honest about previous STIs so your doctor can monitor you for any future complications.
When it comes to using condoms, don’t think that doctors aren’t aware that people stretch the truth.
Dr. Sherry Ross says, “Most people don’t wear condoms for more than a month [with a new partner], and that’s if we’re lucky.” and adds regarding the importance of treatment saying, “You can contract an STI at any point, especially if you have unprotected sex. But during your period, the cervix is open a bit, which increases the risk for pelvic inflammatory disease, (which when untreated can cause infertility).”
6 Lying About Your Symptoms
There is no award for toughness, and if something is hurting, or a medication is making you ill, let your doctor know. By grinning and bearing pain you could be making your circumstances even worse. A medical oncologist, Dr. Kashif Ali said that some people will lie about side effects because they’re afraid their doctor will stop treatment. He says often, “they can stay on the regimen, as long as I adjust the dose, or even switch to another treatment that's just as effective."
Sometimes the patient will give away their lies care of their families who inadvertently rat them out. One medical oncologist says, “Sometimes patients will say that they feel fine after a treatment, but I later learn from family members that they experienced side effects. Or sometimes they’ll hide symptoms of their illness. It may be a defense mechanism to ignore the pain or they may be afraid of the truth about their condition. But it is important that patients not lie about how they’re really feeling. It can result in the wrong treatment decision being made. Some side effects may become permanent and even cause disability.”
If your doctor finds out you’ve been holding back it can destroy any trust you’ve built in the past.
5 'I Don't Puff... Ever'
People tend to think they’re good liars, but they’re wrong. As a part of the training process, many doctors learn to consider that patients lie and factor that into their diagnosis. This is true for drinking, smoking, eating habits, and even use of illegal drugs.
Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell says, "It's just human nature that patients want to please doctors. I've had patients say they quit smoking and yet they come in smelling like tobacco. I can throw pills and drugs at patients all day long but if they're still continuing to smoke and that sort of thing it's just not going to help."
Because medical professionals are often on tight schedules, sometimes seeing dozens of patients each day, they don’t have the time to pick up on the nuances of your falsehoods. Smoking, particularly as a woman ages, can increase risks of strokes and other conditions when paired with certain types of birth control, so admit to that evening smoke, or 25, because your lies may be increasing the possibility of an unnecessary medical risk.
Believe it or not, many modern doctors are working hard to move away from the lecturing stereotype which is what leads patients to lie to them in the first place.
4 Pretending To Take Your Meds
I am awful at taking multivitamins, I don’t know why, I just can’t make it stick, with the exception of my pregnancy when I set an alarm on my phone. Give me a prescription, I’ll make it work. Apparently, I’m not alone. Statistics say that around seventy-five percent of people have difficulty taking their medication as they’ve been directed, while a handful of others omit to tell their primary physicians about other medication they’ve been prescribed, which can be very dangerous as some medications should never be taken together.
Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones says, “A survey of 1500 people found that in the last year 13% had lied to their doctors, 32% stretched the truth and 40% had lied about following a prescription plan”, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
How can your doctor work with you or know how your body is reacting to treatment if you aren’t taking the medicine?
Also, from a practical and budgetary point of view, do you really want to be spending money on a prescription that you aren’t going to use? Probably not. If a prescription is giving you unpleasant side effects, contact your doctor right away, before you stop taking the medication, to see if they can help you find a better fit.
3 Your Daily Routine
When I began working primarily out of my home office, my daily step count suddenly plummeted from easily achieving over 10,000 steps to closer to 4,000 (on a good day), no matter how many trips upstairs to the washroom I took. Instead of hiding this significant change in my day to day from the doctor, by talking to them we were able to come up with other ways for me to get in more physical activity every day.
Dr. Dempsey talks about how important it is for people to be completely honest and says, “If I think that the diet intervention isn't working as expected, first I am going to question why, and then I might have to resort to more aggressive treatment options. If patients admit to their indiscretions, then doctors can work with the patient to develop strategies to keep their diet on track.”
Another item frequently lied about involved recreational drugs, even though it’s important for your doctor to know so they can accurately provide an informed diagnosis and treatment.
Dempsey says, “Patients don't want to admit to their drug use because they don't want that information to become part of their medical record. They fear that it could affect their insurance policy or their employment."
2 Don't Beat Around The Bush
Doctors aren’t perfect. They are doing a job, one that involves a lot of stress, other patients, and minimal time for others. This is why it’s best not to skirt around an issue and to try to really get to the bottom of an issue that is bothering you. Dr. Danielle Ofri told The Globe and Mail that she had a particular patient who could be described as "a real talker with a million complaints." But after reading a Swiss study that revealed that doctors who ask how they can assist a patient without interrupting the patient for only 92 seconds (on average) finds it helps the doctor see things better from their patient’s perspective.
Ofri says that patients who are categorized as ‘complainers’ may have their symptoms downgraded by the doctors who are caring for them. Ofri says, "And of course, that's a terrible thing to do because people who have lots of complaints also have real illness too, and you can miss something,”
As a suggestion for anyone who feels that their doctor is ignoring them, or is overly focused on one particular portion of a person’s health and not considering something particularly important to the patient – speak up! Ofri says, "It's okay to stop [your doctor] and say, 'Hey, I'm not sure you're really hearing what I'm saying,' or, 'I feel like you're jumping to conclusions about what I'm saying before I've had a chance."
1 Reporting Life Traumas
Sometimes it’s a matter of lying, whereas other times it’s something you forgot to mention. It always comes in handy to arrive at the doctor’s office with a list containing information on questions you want to ask, any changes to your medical history, things you want to talk about, in addition to traumatic things that have happened in your life and your family members’ lives.
It often doesn’t occur to them that a sibling’s recent heart attack or cancer diagnosis, or a close family members death may be impacting test results due to stress.
These changes can also impact your family history, and make you eligible for screening tests that you wouldn’t have been eligible for in the past because now a particular disease or condition is a part of your family’s medical history. Another item worth mentioning is reporting all major medical procedures, even if they’re embarrassing, because your doctor is going to probably figure it out anyway.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg says, , "I'm always amazed at how many patients say 'no' when asked if they've ever had surgery, but then somehow it slips out at a subsequent visit." Your doctor needs all the details, including whether or not you had a lengthy recovery from surgery or if you had an adverse reaction to anesthesia.
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