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Discussing Difficult Topics With Your Doctor

From Jonathan Rippentrop, MD, Urologist at Crossing Rivers Health Center for Specialty Care

Who really wants to go to a doctor to discuss problems that are going on ‘down there?’

Even the most refined, mature adults struggle from time-to-time communicating about socially sensitive health issues. It’s difficult to find the right words to describe what’s going on, or people feel silly or childish discussing certain body parts or functions. Most importantly, I want to emphasize that you should never let embarrassment over a topic prevent you from seeking medical help. We can work through any hesitation you might have about verbalizing your symptoms. It’s very important that you come see us if you’re having problems.”

Here are my three main tips to remember next time you have an embarrassing question for your doctor:

1. Your body is a machine. So many people are frustrated with their bodies because they believe they are broken or not perfect. They focus on what other people might think about their problems and fear being judged. Healthcare providers are medically trained to understand body functions, much the same way mechanics understand cars. We literally see your body as a machine that needs to be fixed. We aren’t here to judge.

2. A sense of humor helps. Laughter is the best medicine when you’re nervous. Often, we will try to lighten the mood with our patients to help them feel more at ease. If you go into the appointment with an upbeat attitude, confident that you’re going to find a solution to your health issue, it will be a lot easier to talk to your provider.

3. You’re not the only one. Physicians and nurses have seen it all - literally. You are an individual with special characteristics, and we will talk with you to make sure we completely understand your unique situation. But, don’t feel isolated or cursed with a health problem no one else has ever suffered. We’ve talked to a lot of people who have felt the same way. It’s ok to tell us what’s going on, so we can get it figured out for you.

The goal of the Urology Clinic at Crossing Rivers Health Center for Specialty Care is to provide excellent, cost-effective diagnosis and treatment of urological disorders. Our expert urology specialists provide diagnosis and treatment for bladder disorders including voiding dysfunction, urinary incontinence, kidney stone disease (medical and surgical care); prostate disorders; and sexual dysfunction.

Minimally invasive and surgical services offered at Crossing Rivers Health Medical Center include surgical oncology for bladder, kidney, prostate and testicular cancer; vasectomy; interstim- incontinence treatment; and laser shock lithotripsy- kidney stone treatment. To schedule an appointment with one of the urologists at Crossing Rivers Health, call 608.357.2525.