For as much as Women Open Up, Why do we Shut Down about Our Health?

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 15, 2011

Everyone knows that communication is a key factor in any relationship. Women tend to be most comfortable opening up to friends and loved ones, but what about that other important person in your life – your doctor! According to a recent survey conducted by TENA, a leading brand of products for bladder weakness, a majority of baby boomer women do not effectively communicate with their doctors about “sensitive” personal health issues including bladder weakness, low sex drive or even menopause. If these changes in our bodies are so common and simply a normal part of life, why are we so hesitant to discuss them?

The survey of 1,000 U.S. baby boomers revealed that only 16 percent of women are likely to immediately contact their doctor when they experience an embarrassing health issue or symptom. That means that as many as 84% of us are staying silent – an alarmingly high number. The survey also revealed that the significant communication gap between baby boomer women and their doctors can be attributed to a number of factors including embarrassment and the assumption that their symptoms are a normal part of aging. In fact, the survey found that 67 percent of boomer women are less likely to discuss a symptom with their doctor if they perceive it as a “normal part of aging.” But ladies, just because our bodies change as we age doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss those changes with your doctor. Let’s face it, if the change is significant enough for us to notice, then that alone should be the reason to inform your doctor.

As we go through life, it is no secret that we will increasingly experience new health challenges – some normal and some not. It is imperative that we break down these communication barriers and pave the way for future generations of women to come. To help spark conversation, TENA has created a new health education and advocacy campaign for women called the TENA Conversation Couch. The program encourages women to take control of their health by sitting down and opening up. The comfortable, brightly colored couch serves as a symbol of normalcy so we can feel more comfortable talking about those “oops” moments and learn about ways to help manage bladder weakness, or any other sensitive health issue.

So, ladies, let’s join in the conversation and take our health into our own hands. It may be inevitable that we are going to experience a number of common, sometimes “embarrassing” problems, but we don’t need to let them get in our way. Take back control of your health and your quality of life by sitting down and opening up about your concerns with your doctor.

Here are some tips from TENA on communicating openly and honestly with your doctor:

  • Be Open: Talking about personal health matters such as bladder weakness can be hard, but you deserve to live your life free from symptoms that hold you back. Letting your doctor know about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing will help them help you. Not ready to talk to your doctor yet? Work your way up by confiding in a friend or family member.
  • Do Your Homework: Doing some research before your appointment could go a long way in helping you identify what you’re experiencing and the options available to help manage it.
  • Take Notes: Keep track of your symptoms and the times when they are most persistent and bring those notes with you when you visit your doctor. If you get nervous, having notes there will help you stay on topic and remember the little details. Also, having notes to share with your doctor will help provide them with more background on the situation – and they may notice patterns that could indicate triggers or hidden causes.

For more information about the TENA Conversation Couch, bladder weakness and to request a free TENA product sample, please visit the TENA Conversation Couch Facebook page!