How to Talk with Your Doctor About Sensitive Issues

Robert S. Hays

Illustration of a doctor and patient talking to each otherMuch of the conversation involving medical doctor and patient is individual. To have a very good partnership with your medical doctor, it is significant to speak about sensitive subjects, like intercourse or memory troubles, even if you are humiliated or unpleasant. Most medical practitioners are utilised to talking about individual issues and will check out to simplicity your pain. Continue to keep in thoughts that these matters issue numerous older people. You can use booklets and other materials from NIA or the companies shown at the stop of the write-up to support you convey up sensitive subjects when talking with your medical doctor.

It is significant to fully grasp that troubles with memory, despair, sexual function, and incontinence are not necessarily usual components of getting older. A very good medical doctor will acquire your problems about these matters significantly and not brush them off. If you imagine your medical doctor isn’t taking your problems significantly, speak to him or her about your feelings or take into consideration wanting for a new medical doctor. Browse on for illustrations of techniques to convey up these subjects during your appointment.


Any individual at any age can have a drinking dilemma. Liquor can have a bigger impact as a person grows older for the reason that the getting older method has an effect on how the system handles alcoholic beverages. Individuals can also establish a drinking dilemma later in everyday living due to important everyday living variations like the demise of cherished kinds. Communicate with your medical doctor if you imagine you could be developing a drinking dilemma. You could say: “Lately, I’ve been wanting to have a consume earlier and earlier in the afternoon, and I locate it’s having tougher to quit after just just one or two. What kind of solutions could support with this?”

Understand extra about alcoholic beverages and older grown ups.


Driving is an significant portion of day-to-day everyday living for numerous people, and creating the selection to quit driving can be really difficult. Tell your medical doctor if you or people near to you are involved about your driving and why. He or she can go around your professional medical ailments and remedies to see if there are treatable troubles that could be contributing to driving problems.

Obtain out extra about older motorists.

Slipping and Worry of Slipping

A slide can be a really serious party, usually primary to damage and reduction of independence, at least for a although. For this motive, numerous older people establish a anxiety of falling. Scientific tests demonstrate that anxiety of falling can keep people from heading about their usual functions and, as a outcome, they could turn out to be frailer, which essentially raises their threat of falling yet again. If anxiety of falling is impacting your working day-to-working day everyday living, permit your medical doctor know. He or she could be ready to endorse some matters to do to decrease your chances of falling. Exercises can support you increase your harmony and fortify your muscle mass, at any age.

Normal workout helps make you more powerful and can support you reduce falls. NIA has articles or blog posts and free of charge films built for older grown ups that can support you in good shape workout and physical action into your daily everyday living.

Browse about how to reduce falls and fractures.

Experience Disappointed with Your Health care provider

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Misunderstandings can arrive up in any connection, together with involving a patient and medical doctor or the doctor’s staff. If you truly feel unpleasant with something your medical doctor or his or her staff has said or completed, be direct. For instance, if the medical doctor does not return your phone phone calls, you could want to say something like this: “I understand that you treatment for a lot of people and are really active, but I truly feel disappointed when I have to wait around for days for you to return my call. Is there a way we can get the job done collectively to increase this?”

Remaining honest is a lot superior for your wellbeing than averting the medical doctor. If you have a prolonged-standing connection with your medical doctor, operating out the dilemma could be extra valuable than wanting for a new medical doctor.

Grief, Mourning, and Depression

As people develop older, they could get rid of important people in their life, together with spouses and cherished friends. Or, they could have to shift away from dwelling or give up favored functions. A medical doctor who is familiar with about your losses is superior ready to fully grasp how you are feeling. He or she can make recommendations that could be useful to you.

Whilst it is usual to mourn when you have a reduction, later everyday living does not have to be a time of ongoing sadness. If you truly feel unhappy all the time or for extra than a several weeks, permit your medical doctor know. Also, tell your medical doctor about symptoms such as deficiency of strength, very poor hunger, problems sleeping, or little curiosity in everyday living. These could be signals of despair, which is a professional medical problem.

Depression is a prevalent dilemma between older grown ups, but it is NOT a usual portion of getting older. Depression could be prevalent, specifically when people expertise losses, but it is also treatable. It ought to not be viewed as usual at any age. Let your medical doctor know about your feelings and check with about cure.

Browse extra about despair in older grown ups.


Just after divorce, separation, or the demise of a wife or husband, some older people could locate on their own dating yet again, and possibly owning intercourse with a new associate. It’s a very good idea to speak with your medical doctor about how risk-free intercourse can decrease your threat of sexually transmitted conditions such as HIV/AIDS. It’s significant to practice risk-free intercourse, no matter what your age.


Older people sometimes have troubles controlling their bladder. This is called urinary incontinence and it can usually be taken care of. If you have problems controlling your bladder or bowels, it is significant to permit the medical doctor know. To convey up the topic, you could say something like: “Since my very last stop by there have been various instances when I could not handle my bladder.”

Understand extra about bladder wellbeing.

Memory Challenges

Numerous older people get worried about their means to imagine and keep in mind. For most older grown ups, thinking and memory stay fairly intact in later years. On the other hand, if you or your family discover that you are owning troubles remembering latest events or thinking evidently, permit your medical doctor know. Be specific about the variations you’ve observed. For instance, you could say: “I’ve always been ready to harmony my checkbook with no any troubles, but these days I’m really baffled.” Your medical doctor will possibly want you to have a comprehensive checkup to see what may well be causing your symptoms.

Challenges with Family members

Even powerful and loving family members can have troubles, specifically below the pressure of sickness. Whilst family troubles can be distressing to talk about, talking about them can support your medical doctor support you.

If you truly feel that a family member or caregiver is taking edge of you or mistreating you, permit your medical doctor know. Some older people are abused by family members or other people. Abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, or even monetary in mother nature. Your medical doctor could be ready to give means or referrals to other expert services that can support if you are becoming mistreated.

Understand extra about how to figure out elder abuse.


Most wellbeing pros now fully grasp that sexuality continues to be significant in later everyday living. If you are not pleased with your intercourse everyday living, never just believe it’s due to your age. In addition to talking about age-linked variations, you can check with your medical doctor about the consequences of an sickness or a incapacity on sexual function. Also, check with your medical doctor about the affect remedies or surgical procedures could have on your intercourse everyday living.

If you are not certain how to convey the topic up, check out indicating: “I have a individual dilemma I would like to check with you…” or “I fully grasp that this problem or treatment can impact my system in numerous techniques. Will it impact my intercourse everyday living at all?”

Understand extra about how rising older may well impact your intercourse everyday living.

For Additional Facts on Speaking about Sensitive Topics

NIA Alzheimer’s and linked Dementias Instruction and Referral (ADEAR) Middle
1-800-438-4380 (toll-free of charge)
[email protected]
The Countrywide Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Middle delivers information and facts and free of charge print publications about Alzheimer’s disorder and linked dementias for family members, caregivers, and wellbeing pros. ADEAR Middle staff answer phone, e mail, and written requests and make referrals to nearby and countrywide means.

Countrywide Institute on Liquor Abuse and Alcoholism                                                                         
Countrywide Institutes of Wellbeing
[email protected]

This written content is provided by the Countrywide Institute on Aging (NIA), portion of the Countrywide Institutes of Wellbeing. NIA researchers and other professionals critique this written content to make sure that it is exact, authoritative, and up to day.

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