Embarrassing health check

While tax and death are two certainties regularly discussed in life, embarrassing health checks seem to fly under the radar or are considered taboo.

Intimate and crucial examinations, including breast exams, prostate checks, pap smears and STI concerns, tend to leave Australians in a state of anguish and stops them from visiting their GP.

Dr Kieran Kennedy is a medical doctor and psychiatry resident with degrees in psychology, physiology and medicine/surgery. He shares his foolproof tips on making it through an embarrassing health check.

Honesty is key
Although difficult, letting your doctor know you’re nervous can help diffuse the topic. If a doctor is aware of any anxieties, he or she can take the lead in the conversation, slow things down and ensure you feel more comfortable.

Double up
Book a double appointment to take the time-pressure element out of the mix. This will also give the doctor time to talk through any additional concerns you may have.

Ask questions
Dr Kieran understands the confusing element of ‘doc speak’, and urges patients not to be afraid to ask for more information or explanations when needed.

Focus
Keep your focus on why you are there. These checks are hugely important for our health and mean you’re less likely to receive nasty surprises or greater problems down the track.

Prepare
Knowledge is power and having a general idea of what’s ahead can help you feel more in control and more comfortable, so do some research before you head to your appointment.

While it’s common to be anxious about addressing any medical issue, be it physical or mental, taking the first step by visiting a trusted health professional is vital in prolonging good health.

How do you prepare for your sensitive health checks?

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Written by Kieran Kennedy

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