And yet, the majority of women are fibbing or omitting key facts that could make real trouble down the road. Here are six of the biggest little white lies-and why it’s crucial to come clean.
After a tough workday, Kate almost always indulges in a glass of wine, sometimes two. And on weekend outings with friends, it’s not unusual for her to down three or four drinks in one sitting. But when she goes for her annual check-up, she seldom admits to drinking, even though her father is an alcoholic. “I don’t want the stress of having to defend my lifestyle choices,” says the 42-year-old executive assistant. Kate’s silence is far from uncommon.
According to a survey, more than half of women ages 25 to 49 routinely withhold information from their doctors. And really, who hasn’t stretched the truth just a little when pressed about personal details, whether it’s how often you floss or when you last hooked up with a new guy?
“People don’t want to be scolded or judged”. “And often, they’re simply embarrassed to talk about subjects they see as taboo.” But honesty is the best policy at the doctor’s office. If you’ve made one of the following misleading statements, you could be seriously sabotaging your health care.
“Aspects of your sexual history, including the number of partners you’ve had, are among the top things women lie about to their doctors.”
Half-truth : “I Eat A Healthy Diet.”
TRUTH: The scale says “” healthy, but the lemonade-cayenne “detox” concoction peeking out of your handbag suggests otherwise.
Consequences: “Cleanses and other extreme diet can interfere with kidney function and protein levels”. “And they may cause vitamin deficiencies, dehydration, blood sugar imbalances and loss of muscle mass.” If you’re struggling to drop weight, your doctor can help you choose a safer way to do it or refer you to an expert she trusts (like a registered dietitian). At the every lest, being honest can help you prevent a misdiagnosis. Here the story of someone who came in with intestinal problems. “I was about to prescribe steroid medications when the patient admitted to following a raw, vegan diet”. “It was a simple nutritional problem rather than a medical one.”
Half-truth : “I Don’t Smoke”
Truth: You bum a cigarette from a colleague now and then.
Consequences: More than one in 10 people who take at least an occasional drag hide the fact from their doctors, according to surveys by anti-smoking groups. But if you’re not going through a pack a day, you’re not really a smoker, right? Wrong. Health groups including the Cancer Council and Heart Foundation state plainly that there’s no safe level of exposure, and even ‘social smokers’ are at risk for many conditions. In fact, research has shown that puffing just one to four cigarettes per day raise your odds of having a major-related event nearly threefold. Smoking is also linked to sinus and upper-respiratory infections, emphysema, stroke and, of course, lying cancer – so some screening tests may be in order.
If you fess up, your doctor will think twice about prescribing hormone-based contraception (like the pill), because you’re more likely to suffer a blood clot or stroke. And if you get a bad cold, she may want to monitor you, because people who light up are most apt to develop pneumonia. Yes, your admission might lead to a lecture on quitting – but you could also walk away with some good advice about how to do it!
Half-truth : “I Drink Occasionally.”
Truth: You frequently enjoy wine with dinner and often partake in several rounds during happy hour.
Consequences: Technically that would make you a heavy drinker, defined by the health guidelines as a woman who averages more than one alcoholic beverage per day. And if you knock back four to five at one time – you’re binge drinking, which increases your chances of developing heart and liver disease, stroke, high blood pressure and a host of gastrointestinal and memory problems. Heavy alcohol consumption also puts you at risk for addiction and quaffing more than three drinks a day may hike your breast cancer odds by 30 percent. Along with the dangers of taking in unhealthy amounts of booze alone, it can also be problematic when used in conjunction with many medications-even over-the-counter ones. For example, in chronic pill poppers, taking just four to five extra-strength painkillers in one day can cause liver damage and mixing certain antibiotics with alcohol can lead to scary side effects like dizziness and rapid heart aren’t. If your doc knows background, he can help you steer of bad interactions.
Half-truth : “I Don’t Have Digested Issues.”
Truth: You experience embarrassing intestinal trouble, such as gas, bloating or constipation on a regular basis.
Consequences: More women than men suffer from gastrointestinal distress and when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, characterised by chronic constipation and/or diarrhoea)70 percent of suffers are female. IBS is one condition that can often be controlled with dietary changes. A witching up what you’re eating could also make a huge difference if you suffer from coeliac disease (an adverse reaction to gluten) or lactose intolerance (difficulty digesting milk). Sometimes these symptoms also warrant testing for more serious underlying conditions. Bloating, for instance, could signal ovarian cancer; persistent stomach cramps could indicate an autoimmune disorder like Crohn’s disease; and blood in the stool is a possible sign of colon cancer.
Half-truth : “I Practice Safe Sex”
Truth: You sometimes skip condoms and have been treated for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) before.
Consequences: Aspects of your sexual history, including the number of partners you’ve had and having an STD in your past, are among the top things women routinely life about to their physicians. But hiding your previous and/or current sexual behaviours can be dangerous. Left untreated, STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility and human papillomavirus (HPV) can turn into cervical cancer-which kills thousands of women a year. (In good news the incidence of cervical cancer in women aged 20 to 69 has almost halved since the introduction of a national screening program in 1991. The cancer Council estimates screening saves more than 1,200 women from developing cervical cancer each year so ask your doctor for advice on this.)
Promptly addressing STDs can also help you avoid the fallout. You don’t have to divulge the exact number of people you’ve slept with if you’re feeling shy. But if you’ve had even one new partner since your last exam, ask to be screened. Make sure to mention any STDs you may have been treated for in the past too, as it can affect your care. For example, if you’re having trouble getting pregnant or are experiencing painful cramping, your doctor should know to check for internal scar tissue that an infection could have left behind.
Half-truth : “I’m Not Taking Any Medications”
Truth: You pop vitamins and herbal supplements without giving them much thought.
Consequences: “When we ask patients, ‘What drugs are you taking?’ they don’t list herbs because they don’t think of then as powerful”, “but they can be.” So you may be trying out biotin for strong hair and nails like your mum recommends, the acai that your gym buddy loves for weight loss or the kava your sister swears is as relaxing as a glass of wine, without understanding the impact they could have on your body.
For example, herbs such as kava and comfrey can damage your liver, while Vitamin E can cause bruising and bleeding. And if you mix supplements with medications, you could end up making them weaker or stronger. Meanwhile, a multi Vitamin K, which increases blood clotting, could interfere with blood thinners.
Hard to keep track of? Definitely! But that’s why you should talk to your doctor-about this and everything else that pertains to your body, your mind and your life. Remember, when it comes to managing your health, there’s no such thing as too much information!
Sometimes the most mortifying thing to admit is that money is tight. In fact, finances and work are among the biggest stressors and can increase the risk of many health complaints.
One study has found that being financially stepped led people to delay check-ups with their doctors or recommended treatments. If a lack of cash is messing with your health, speak up. Many doctors will set up billing plans so you can pay fees over time. You can also ask for a generic version of medicines you need and inquire about free samples. Your doc may just hand some over.