How Do I Talk to People About Embarassing Medical Issues?

Dec 15, 2021

Anonymous asks, quote:

Do you have advice about telling friends or loved ones about embarrassing conditions like catheterization or GI problems? It is a significant part of my life so it’s weird hiding it from everyone

end quote.

It depends on what the goal is. Are you looking for a space to talk about the mental/physical/social impact of your conditions? If that’s the case, I think you’d be much better off talking to a therapist or, at a minimum, someone who shares your same medical situation.

If you’re looking to make it easier for your friends and loved ones to better accommodate your needs, here’s what I recommend: speak to the need, not the symptom. “I have to avoid gluten.” “I need access to a bathroom every four hours.” If folks want more details, you can provide your diagnosis or the medical terminology (e.g., catheterization) and they can Google it. It’s not your job to give some grand tour of your body.