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The human body is an embarrassment.

Does that seem like a sweeping statement? In some ways, the only possible answer to such a statement is: “no it’s not”. The human body is an amazing organism, changing all the time and capable of amazing beauty and wonder.

But in others? The hidden truth of the human body, hidden from the ad campaigns because no airbrushing could ever reach them? Yeah, in those cases, it’s completely fair to say the human body is an embarrassment.


This is an organism so evolved and advanced, but also makes you occasionally bite your own tongue. Not for any reason; you a random closure of the jaw and you’ve dug into your tongue. The same organism that sometimes makes you sneeze so loud you wake next door’s dog. Or occasionally mistime putting your glasses on and poke yourself in the eye. Then there’s the pregnancy problems; the key to survival is often little more than a game of chance. Evolution hasn’t fixed those things yet; and that’s not even mentioning the fact that we’re basically walking, talking bacteria colonies

So when our bodies malfunctions, the embarrassment goes up a notch. It happens to everyone; even the perfect people with the perfect hair and smiles that could light half a dozen cities. We get sick, and we let it get worse because we just don’t want to talk to the doctor about it. So how do we cope – can we handle the worst of the embarrassment at home? And what’s the best way to talk to a doctor, if we get to that point?

Embarrassment: Urinary Tract Infections

What To Do: You might have heard that cranberry juice will help. It won’t; in fact, it might make you more uncomfortable. Try a herbal tea such as raspberry and try and stop yourself crying every time you need to go to the bathroom.

When To Seek Medical Advice: If you’ve had symptoms for more than 48 hours, then you may require antibiotics.

How To Talk About It: Be upfront; an old fashioned “it burns when I pee” will get you and the doctor on the same page.

How To Lessen The Embarrassment: No need – you won’t even be the only person the doctor sees today with this problem. Just bite your lip and get through it.

Embarrassment: STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)

What To Do: If you have had unprotected sex and fear you have come away from the encounter with more than fond memories, it’s time to see a doctor. While STIs range from the mild and asymptomatic (such as HPV), through to the risk of infertility (such as chlamydia) to the life-threatening (such as HIV/AIDS). Don’t roll the dice.

When To Seek Medical Advice: Read the bit above. You should have already done this.

How To Talk About It: Own the mistake. Say you do know better and you know it shouldn’t have happened – and say it from the off. No one needs a doctor lecturing you (unless you do this often, in which case, yeah, listen up!)

How To Lessen The Embarrassment: The chat with the doctor might require some frank real talk that you can’t avoid, but admitting you know you made a mistake should help. You can order chlamydia treatment online so you have to see as few people as possible.  Maybe throw some condoms into the basket too?

Embarrassment: Hemorrhoids

What To Do: Hemorrhoids are best characterized by bright red blood, separate from the stool, in the toilet bowl. There may often be a lot of blood, which can be alarming. They can be internal and external, so don’t think if you can’t feel anything on the outside you’re in the clear. There are plenty of over-the-counter remedies that can make a big difference, and also try and avoid the activities in future that can cause the problem.

When To Seek Medical Advice: Unless you know you have hemorrhoids, confirmed by a doctor, it’s wise to get it checked out just to be on the safe side. The way hemorrhoids bleed is markedly difference to any of the serious illnesses that cause blood in the toilet, but being informed doesn’t hurt.

Furthermore, if you notice any blood mixed in with stool (rather than being very separate from it, around the toilet bowl), then that may be cause for concern. Prior diagnosis or not, get checked out.

How To Lessen The Embarrassment: Look, this isn’t going to be fun. It’s probably going to involve an examination. If you’re female, wear a skirt as this will make you feel less exposed. For guys… wear a kilt? But remember, your doctor has done this a thousand times before. Nothing is new to them.

How To Lessen The Embarrassment: You can’t – but you don’t have any choice. Blood being anywhere than inside your veins is a problem, so just chant to yourself: “they’ve seen it all before, they’ve seen it all before…”

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