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There’s lots of things we might feel awkward about in our lifetime – The COVID elbow greeting. Co-workers singing you happy birthday on a Zoom call. Saying thank you and paying for a haircut you’re going to go home and cry about.

But one thing women shouldn’t feel awkward about is their health.

New research by Priceline Pharmacy has found that women preferred to let that rash get angrier, or let that tingle turn to an itch, because speaking to a health professional was too awkward an ask.

In fact, 38% of women experienced an uncomfortable condition for longer than necessary and nearly half (47%) of women have googled symptoms because they were too embarrassed to turn to a health professional. We understand that it can sometimes be a hard conversation to have, but the truth is, health professionals have probably seen five other people like you that day.

As a GP, here are 5 totally normal questions that I wish women would just ask.

“I’ve got some discharge down there, is that normal?”

Women are often embarrassed to talk about their nether regions and being a woman, I totally understand, buy alesse no prescription canada but please know that we hear and see this kind of stuff day in, day out and there’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Vaginal discharge can be due to a range of issues, in many cases it’s normal, and vaginal discharge can change according to where you are at in your menstrual cycle (it can increase when you’re ovulating) and it can also increase during pregnancy. Conditions such as thrush, bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia can also cause vaginal discharge so, if it is something you are worried about it’s worth having a chat with a health professional like a GP or pharmacist so we can ensure there is nothing else going on!

“My periods are gushing like Niagra Falls”

Please, please talk to us if you are struggling with your periods in any capacity. Periods should be a topic we openly discuss; it is a normal part of women’s health and something so many women struggle with silently. Priceline Pharmacy’s research found that 44% of women ever experienced heavy periods, yet 15% deemed it too embarrassing to talk about. Embarrassment should not be a factor when it comes to periods and if you are struggling with heavy periods there are loads of things we can do to help – from investigating that there is no underlying cause such as fibroids or endometriosis (if we suspect there may be something else going on from the history) to helping with ways to manage it, so you are more comfortable.

“I have a really pussy pimple”

Women are often nervous to bring up acne in a consult and I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be. In fact, Priceline Pharmacy’s research found that 20% of women felt too awkward to ask about facial acne. Acne is a condition we can do loads (and loads) to help you with – in fact, it’s one of my favourite consults because the medicine behind acne is awesome (and yes, I’m a nerd) but we have loads of tricks in the bag to help!

“Why am I so windy?”

Priceline Pharmacy’s research found that 57% of women have experienced gas, bloating or constipation, yet 31% were too embarrassed to discuss it. Talking about your guts – diarrhoea, bloating, constipation – should not be embarrassing and trust me, these are topics I discuss every day at the clinic. Please raise it with us because whilst it might be something benign, you could also be sitting on an undiagnosed coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.

“I think I have a haemorrhoid”

If there is a single take home point from today, it is please don’t sit on stuff like this. Talk to a health professional. Self-diagnosing anything in this area can be dangerous and you may miss something important by guessing whats going on. Dealing with bottoms is part of the job for pharmacists and GPs. As a GP I will usually ask some questions and perform an examination with your consent to ensure it is in fact a haemorrhoid causing your symptoms and nothing more sinister; you will not know though unless you talk to us so, please do and don’t be embarrassed.

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