According to Redbook magazine, women are not exactly being truthful to their doctors. Whether it's because they're embarrassed, don't want to get lectured, or don't want to be judged, women are bending the truth a bit in the exam room.
Female patients may also fear that revealing certain details of their lives will make them seem like "bad patients" and that their doctor won't give them the best care. Women tend to be people pleasers. It's not that they want to be deceptive, but want to make their doctors happy. However, it may be at the expense of their own health. Here are the top five lies women tell the person in the white coat:
- "I'm not a big drinker."It's important to be truthful since a high consumption of alcohol is linked to breast cancer. Also, when your doctor prescribes medications, drinking too much alcohol can cause complications or risky side effects.
- "I don't smoke." We all know we shouldn't smoke, so we don't need our doctors telling us not to, right? Or we think, "I only smoke when I drink, so it's not a big deal." Well it doesn't matter what you tell your doctor because as soon as she examines you, she'll know you smoke since nicotine stains the inside of your nose. Smoking causes premature wrinkling, lung cancer, and it also raises your risk for stroke when using the pill, so women need to be truthful with their doctor about this one.
To see the last three lies
- "I'm monogamous." It's understandable that you don't want to admit you sleep with multiple partners for fear that it may make you seem irresponsible or promiscuous. The problem is, it can put you at risk for contracting an sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, or chlamydia, which can make you infertile. Your risk increases especially if you have unprotected sex. Doctors may be too embarrassed to bring this up, so it may be up to you to admit that you're not monogamous, so you can get tested for STIs.
- "Of course, I floss." I know flossing is boring and tedious, but it's so important to floss regularly, and not just when you get a popcorn kernel stuck in your teeth. Studies show that those who don't floss regularly are at risk for gum disease, which puts you at risk for heart disease and pancreatic cancer. So start flossing as often as you brush and next time you go to the dentist, you won't have to lie.
- "I'm taking my medicine exactly as you prescribed." Many women don't take prescriptions as directed because they think they know better, or they skip doses or stop taking meds because they don't like the side effects. Also, if they don't do exactly as their doctor prescribes and they aren't feeling better, they don't want to admit that it could be their fault. The best thing is to openly communicate with your doctor about your drugs. Ask questions and find out if taking your prescriptions in a different way is beneficial, or see if there are alternatives that have fewer side effects.
Fit's Tip: Your doctor is the one person you need to always be honest with. She's only looking out for your best interest, and you want her to know all the details so she can offer you the best care. Doctors are required by law to keep all information confidential, so you should feel safe telling them anything.