Millions of adults are too embarrassed to see a doctor about symptoms

Millions of adults are too embarrassed to see a doctor about symptoms

Many adults avoid going to the doctor about their symptoms, and instead of self-dianosis on Google (Getty Images)

Millions of adults are too embarrassed to book an appointment with a doctor about potential symptoms of a serious illness, a new study has revealed.

These include excessive flatulence, blood in the urine, changes in vaginal discharge and bleeding between menstruation and after sex.

More than a quarter of adults revealed that they have skipped seeing a GP as they sadly feared their personal problem was too shameful to share, the Essity survey found ‘Check for Change’ among 2,255 people.

A spokesman for the hygiene and health company said, “it is vital that we overcome the embarrassment and stigma that surrounds our intimate health”.

See: Research reveals how many women still do not know enough about their own bodies

About 12% of men and women have postponed making a medical appointment for about two years or more to avoid tackling a health problem that caused them to crawl.

Worryingly, as they took matters into their own hands during the pandemic, nearly half of adults tried to self-diagnose during the lockdown by searching through non-NHS sites and ‘Dr Google’ to try to understand their symptoms – instead of just to talk to a professional.

However, nearly a third of respondents revealed that they had tried to get a face-to-face GP but were unsuccessful due to coronavirus restrictions, the study showed ‘Check for Change’.

“Searching for symptoms online appears to have normalized among British adults during coronavirus lockdowns,” said Essity’s spokesman.

“But under no circumstances should anyone rely on a diagnosis from social media or ‘Dr Google’.

“See your real doctor or healthcare professional if you are concerned. It is vital that we overcome the embarrassment and stigma that surrounds our intimate health.”

Read more: ‘Embarrassing health complaints, women should not be ashamed of

Mature woman in consultation with female doctor sitting on examination sofa in office

Seeing a doctor is the best solution to a symptom you may be worried about (Getty Images)

The survey asked 2,000 people aged 18 to 55+ from England, Scotland and Wales and 255 in the same age group from Northern and Southern Ireland.

Many respondents insisted that they would never book a doctor’s appointment on a number of “bathroom-related” health issues. Although many of these symptoms are likely to be harmless, they can also be warning signs of cancer and other serious illnesses and are always worth checking out.

In order, the most ’embarrassing’ symptoms mentioned by the respondents, flatulence of 34%, of which 15% would wait more than two weeks to see their doctor, bleeding between menstruation / after sex of 16%, of which 16% would wait longer than fourteen days, and vaginal discharge changes at 14%, of which 10% would also wait.

Excessive flatulence can mean potential for celiac disease and irritable or inflamed bowel, while bleeding and vaginal symptoms can mean some types of cancer, some STIs, injuries or infections.

Read more: Vaginal dryness causes menopausal women to ‘give up a sex life’, warns TV doctor

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Filling out the top 10 list of “embarrassing” symptoms are changes in stool color / consistency / odor / shape, unusual testicular size difference, swelling / enlargement of / testicular pain, loss of bladder control / urinary incontinence, slight bruising and fluid build-up, intestinal incontinence and abnormal growths / wounds on the penis or vagina.

Nearly a quarter preferred to search Google for symptoms rather than talk to a doctor about them, despite the fact that nearly a third claimed that they “assumed the worst” about a change in their body – something that Google can do to a vicious circle.

Of the 26% of respondents who cited embarrassment as the reason for postponing medical visits, 22% were men and 31% women.

Younger women find it most difficult to see a doctor about an 'embarrassing' symptom (Getty Images)

Younger women find it most difficult to see a doctor about an ’embarrassing’ symptom (Getty Images)

Those aged 18-34 mostly delayed seeing a GP, with 39% of this age group explaining that they had postponed going to a professional about something they felt would be too difficult to share.

More than two out of 10 of them in the study admitted that they had been diagnosed with a condition that could have been found earlier if they had visited a doctor when their symptoms began.

Uncontrolled crying or bowel movements were designated at the top of a list of the most ‘shameful’ things to admit to friends or family, with respondents saying it would be as difficult as confessing to losing a job or engagement ring.

Read more: Lisa Snowden opens up to menopause: ‘You feel so lost’.

However, some ’embarrassing’ symptoms turned out to be too important not to ignore, such as the detection of a lump or swelling in the breasts, testicles, groin, breast or abdomen, which would send people to the doctor in less than a day.

Those who found abnormal growths on wounds on the penis or vagina said they would also seek professional help immediately, with only 4% of men and 5% of women willing to ignore these symptoms.

Young African American woman palpates her breast by herself that she is worried about breast cancer.  Health care and breast cancer concept

Detecting a lump or swelling in the breasts that would send people to the doctor in less than a day (Getty Images)

“It is quite understandable that people with symptoms that they feel embarrassed would rather not share their concerns with a doctor, but we must remember that these guys have seen these types of problems a million times before,” the Essity spokesman added. .

“The important thing is that we check for any potential changes in the health of our bathroom and then have the confidence to talk to a healthcare professional about it.”

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