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Five Lies Women Tell Their Doctors

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:

  1. "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.
  2. "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


  1. "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.
  2. "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.
  3. "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.


Join The Conversation
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm such a liar about how much I drink. I don't think I drink a lot, but the "how many drinks a week" question always sounds worse than it is. I had a friend who just wrote "varied" when asked that question.
mtiger mtiger 8 years
I used to lie to my doctor about smoking, but now I'm honest. I'm trying to quit, though!
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
I used to lie to my doctor about drinking because my mother was always in the room when she asked me. Now that my mom no longer takes me to my appointments I can tell the truth :) Oh and ditto on what Leene says.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm really glad that I had a very trusting doctor when I was having period issues back in college. Like Glowing Moon and javsmav, I was a virgin but my period had stopped. My doctor did a quick pelvic exam and said there was no way I could be pregnant because my hymen was still intact. He ordered some hormone tests to see what the deal was and it turned out it was that I was working out too hard and it was stressing my body out too much. I also let him know when I did become sexually active with my husband (then-fiance) so he was aware of that.
minhoca minhoca 8 years
i've had the you must be pregnant insistence too... and there's nothing more uncomfortable or irritating. i also got accused of using cocaine because i had an irregular heartbeat and chest pain (actually was my heart murmur + way too much swimming) needless to say.. i don't visit doctors regularly
Leene Leene 8 years
Why on earth would you lie...? Don't you think it would be easier to find an accurate solution to your health-problems if you are just honest in the first place? They may seem judgemental if you are already feeling guilty and defensive. If you think you are drinking and smoking too much - you are probably right about it.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Yeah, I went to one doctor when I had mono in college and he said that I must be lying about having sex (I was also a virgin) because I told him the TRUTH about drinking (which was like a couple drinks every month when I visited high school friends). He knew I went to a conservative college that prohibited drinking, so my drinking obviously meant I was a dishonest person. Surprise, surprise, the STD screen came back negative! But other than that jackass, I've had pretty good doctors. I feel no need to lie--maybe at the dentist re: flossing. I get on kicks, but I'm less than consistent--I usually fess up though.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I NEVER lied to my doctors. One time, I had a mistrustful doctor. When I informed her I was a virgin (it was the truth), she didn't believe me. That woman rolled her eyes at me. She insisted I take a blood test to determine pregnancy (because my period was late). I was deeply upset with her, and I didn't want to go through with the pregnancy test. Firstly, I knew it was impossible I was pregnant (as I was virgin, as I told her!), and secondly, I had serious needle anxiety. I only took blood tests when it was necessary. However, she was firm about her position. Needless to say, I never saw her again. It was a very uncomfortable situation for me.
cubadog cubadog 8 years
If you feel your doctor is so judgmental than it is time to find a new doctor. I had a doctor that seemed to be like that all the time and I ran into her in public and she was really rude so I treated it like a store providing bad customer service and found a new doctor. I used to fib about how much I drank but I decided whats the point doctors can't help you unless your honest!
ann418 ann418 8 years
I'm with cmd. I would be more honest if they weren't so judgmental.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I hear #1, #2, and #5 ALL the time. Eventually, with enough tests, your doctor will figure it out anyways. To be honest, it's not something to be embarrassed about, or even worth lying.
buffyanne buffyanne 8 years
I wonder--since all of these statements are true for me, and they are common things to lie about--if my doctor thinks I am lying about something.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
I lie about how much I drink. I don't know why I'm more embarrassed about that than the other bad habits! I don't lie about forgetting to floss, but then, they can totally tell.
jessie jessie 8 years
i'm pretty honest...actually more blunt...and doc thinks its funny and likes my wierd sense of humor....i just tell her like it is....
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I don't lie about any of those things, but I do fib about how much caffeine I drink...I always say I drink 2-3 caffeinated beverages a day but I think it's probably closer to 5 or 6 most days.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I don't sleep around. So I don't need to lie :)
myystque myystque 8 years
I don't lie about any of those things, but one time a doctor did mention to me that if you say you've done illegal drugs on those information sheets, it could be used against you by insurance companies (and possibly in other ways that I don't remember now).
In my practice I hear the one about taking the meds more often. A new study shows that obese women are more accurate how much they exercise than normal weight women. Who knew?
eadavenp eadavenp 8 years
I have another one... sure I do regular self breast exams (i dont know why i dont do it and i don't know why i fib about it.)
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
I would be totally honest with my Dr's in an ideal world where they were totally non-judgemental but they always are judgemental and it's a horrible feeling knowing they are judging me even when all my med school friends say they are taught not to judge i don't believe that they don't.
stephley stephley 8 years
Wow, I don't drink, don't smoke, I am monogamous, I floss and I do take my medicines (when I have any) properly. I've had doctors tell me some whoppers though - like the one who said an infected cut I was worried about was clearing up fine: two days later I was in the hospital with sepsis.
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