Millions of Brits are so embarrassed about intimate health issues they won’t even discuss them with their partner, a study has revealed. Researchers found that 65% of adults would rather suffer in silence than endure an awkward face-to-face conversation with someone about our intimate symptoms.
Almost four in ten even admitted they would be too embarrassed to confide in their own partner.
Our parents, best friends and even doctors were also named among the other people we avoid talking to about intimate health problems.
Instead, people are turning to the internet and online advice forums for help, with 41% of people self-diagnosing via the internet.
And almost one in five even admitted to buying drugs online to spare their blushes.
The survey of 2,000 people was commissioned by the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service, which offers online consultations with NHS GPs.
Dr Nitin Shori, Medical Director of Pharmacy2U, said:
”Sadly, this research confirms that our famous British reserve is holding us back when it comes to seeking help for intimate health problems.
”And it’s worrying to see that so many people can’t even bear to share their concerns with their own partner.
”Sometimes, just talking to your other half can really help ease the burden, and then give you the confidence you need to approach a doctor to get the problem sorted.
”But it’s not good to suffer in silence, and people are risking their long-term health by ignoring symptoms or trying self-help via the internet.
”The good news is that there are now new ways to find help, with many people turning to confidential online consultations as an alternative to a face-to-face GP appointment.
”As well as the lack of embarrassment, an online GP consultation is also ideal for today’s busy lifestyles – offering the convenience of gaining expert medical advice at a time and place to suit you.”
The study of 2,000 people found that 78% find it embarrassing to talk to others about intimate health issues.
63% of people still feel embarrassed when talking to their doctor, and 38% are still shy about confiding in their partner – with sexual and mental health problems topping the list of taboo topics.
Another 62% would shy away from talking to their parents, while our best friend is the person we would least like to confide in.
The survey also highlighted why we are reluctant to talk about intimate health issues – while most people just didn’t want to discuss their private problems with others, 22% were worried that the person they confided in would tell others, and 14% feared being laughed at.
It’s not surprising some may keep it to themselves, as almost one in ten have had a partner, friend or parent laugh at them when they have tried to confide in them.
Another one in ten also said the person they trusted with their personal issues then went on to tell other people.
Worryingly, researchers found that 41% of people have tried to diagnose themselves on the internet instead of speaking to a doctor or healthcare professional.
A massive 81% of those have even gone on to try and treat themselves or deal with the symptoms without talking to a doctor, while 17% admitted to buying drugs over the internet instead of getting something prescribed.
More than one in ten also said they had made an illness or symptoms worse by trying to treat it themselves or avoiding the doctors for so long.
But more than three quarters (76%) would choose to consult a GP online rather than face-to-face if they could.
Among the survey respondents, key reasons for choosing to consult a GP online included seeking advice on minor problems, needing an appointment quickly, and needing to discuss a particularly delicate issue.