There are somethings that we just don’t like to talk about. Personal health issues that we cannot bring ourselves to discuss with anyone, even our doctor or health professional. We know it’s silly and we know we should see someone and get to the bottom of whatever it is, but we just can’t bring ourselves to pick up the phone and make the appointment. Somewhere deep in our subconscious, although we know it can’t be true, we imagine that we are the first person to ever suffer from whatever it is we fear we have. We convince ourselves that no medical professional will ever have seen a case quite like ours and that we are indeed, a medical phenomena.
So whether it’s a problem with “down there” or there’s something going on “round the back” how should we get over our fear of being embarrassed and take care of ourselves.
Sue Croft, is a Brisbane Physiotherapist with a special interest in pelvic floor dysfunction including urinary incontinence, prolapse conditions, bowel management and pelvic pain. In short she deals with every embarrassing condition known to man or woman. Sue’s advice is don’t be shy, ” The person sitting next to you on the bus or next to you playing bridge is very likely to be suffering from a similar condition to you. 50pc of women over 50 have some form of prolapse – it’s very common. 1:3 women leak urine and 65% of women and 30% of men report some type of urinary incontinence. So you aren’t alone.” Despite the fact that so many people have bladder problems only 31% say they’ve asked for help from a health professional.
Croft is passionate about her work “It’s laughable that these conditions aren’t spoken about, it’s very common and helping people with these conditions isn’t rocket science.”
So how does Croft deal with people who really are desperately embarrassed and feel alone? “I take things at the patients pace. All specialist physios who deal with pelvic floor problems are very aware of the embarrassment factor and we are sensitive to their discomfort.” She continues, “I let patients know that I understand. I tell them I have had three large babies myself and I have a prolapse – their’s won’t be as bad as mine!”
“By the time patients come to see me they have already climbed Mount Everest. Talking to me and getting the help they need is the easy part.” Croft says. It’s not just women who have to deal with health issues they’d rather not talk about men attend Croft’s clinic too and she says “50% of men over 50 have prostate problems and they are a little slower to seek help.” But the same advice applies – the hardest part of getting the help you need for that embarrassing condition is picking up the phone, and making the call to book an appointment.
There is no point suffering in miserable silence just because you feel uncomfortable talking about your condition. There’s help out there, and kind compassionate professionals with the skills to treat you. The chances are you won’t have anything they haven’t seen before and the chances are they can help, so get over your embarrassment and do yourself and your health a favour.
Have you ever delayed getting medical attention for something you felt was embarrassing? What advice would you give to people who feel too shy to get help?