Whether it’s your fear of getting bad news or your frustration and lack of trust in the medical industry, just the thought of visiting your doctor can be anxiety-driven and panic-stricken. But hopefully if you need to visit one, you’re able to somehow get past these feelings. ‘Cause the thing is, your fear or distrust can actually become so strong that if you ever do make it in for a visit, your behavior and communication with the doctor could suffer. In other words, you could find yourself lying about some of the most crucial things that should be disclosed simply because you really don’t want to be there.
But don’t’ worry! When it comes to doctor visits, you are definitely not alone. This is something that tons of people can relate to! This is why we’ve compiled a list of 15 common lies we tell our doctors as well as the 5 lies they tell us. Yes, not every doctor is perfect, ethical, or cool enough to be forthright when answering our questions and/or analyzing our results. And hopefully you’re able to find some greater understanding in why, as a patient, you may do what you do, while providing some light on areas that doctors may be fib to you about (even if it’s not with malicious intent).
Top 15 Common Lies That We Tell Our Doctors
20 “I’m in so much pain.”
There are those who have a high threshold for pain, and don’t see the need to go to the doctor to get checked out simply because they’ve gotten used to it or believe it will get better on its own. Then there are those who visit the doctor when they have something like severe back pain or unbearable migraines, going on to take the medications prescribed by the doctor.
And then there are those who lie about their level of pain so they can get their hands on good ‘ol prescribed medication – something that is becoming more common than ever. This is super-dangerous because you can become addicted to prescribed meds, just as you could with street drugs (and could even become a “gateway” drug). Unfortunately, because its possible to take advantage of a doctor and swindle your way into pill-popping, you could get yourself stuck in a cycle that is difficult to get out of.
19 “I stay away from junk food!”
No one wants to admit that they prefer french fries over a banana and oatmeal for breakfast. There’s just something embarrassing about not leading a healthy lifestyle, full of fruits, veggies, and lots of water. But junk food, also known as “fast food,” is cheap, easy to obtain, tastes pretty good (thanks to all of that salt!), and makes for great comfort food. So when it’s time to talk nutrition with your doctor during an annual check-up, the thought of mentioning that you consume some sort of junk food on a regular basis can scare you a bit because you know that you may be in store for a lecture.
So you lie about it. Rather, you try to lie about it. After all, urine tests, blood tests, and other routine tests can reveal more than you know. So if you think it’s embarrassing to be forthright with your doctor about how much you love junk food, imagine when you have to fess up after you’re caught because there’s literally too much junk in your system.
18 “I don't have an eating disorder.”
Having an eating disorder is nothing to make light of, no matter how uncomfortable you are to admit it. And even though a doctor should be that person you should be able to open up to and be honest with, that’s not always the case. Although lying – and being in denial – about anorexia or bulimia is never a smart thing, many teens and adult women just don’t have the guts to share what they think is their secret.
But, remember, the effects of an eating disorder will affect the body’s physical state in a variety of ways. Many of them being noticeable and difficult to hide, including the quality of one’s teeth, skin, hair, and weight. An eating disorder is a serious problem and shouldn't be ignored or lied about, even though this is a common occurrence. Remember: a medical practitioner can also be of great resource, as he or she may be able to recommend a mental health professional who could help you get to the root of your issues.
17 “I completely trust you.”
Just because you feel comfortable around your doctor and respect his or her professionalism doesn’t mean you have to show your undying trust in all cases – especially if you question something. Whether due to the results you were given or in response to certain statistics that he or she quoted regarding your condition, you have the right to discuss any and all information provided to you during your visit.
Do you know that you also have the right to consult another medical professional and get a second opinion? Whether you choose to let your initial doctor know that you may do this or not is up to you. (Some women like to move forward in silence so that they are not mistreated in any way.) Just be aware that you have the right to not only get a second medical opinion, but you can always change doctors if you’re not comfortable or confident in his or her background and knowledge.
16 “I never knew that.”
There’s just waaaaay too much information out there to not be aware of certain things. For instance, you should know that drinking coffee at night will keep you from having a good night’s sleep, and that too much junk food could cause you to have high cholesterol. So if your doctor asks you particular questions about your lifestyle, the “I never knew that” lie will only be counterproductive. Now maybe there are some things you weren’t aware of, such as a rare condition or illness you may not be familiar with. But for the most part, you should have some sort of knowledge about any health problems you have prior to your doctor’s appointment.
And don’t worry – doctors know patients are people….and people aren’t perfect! So the more your acknowledge the effects of your habits and lifestyle, the more productive and enjoyable your visit will be. Lying will only hold up this process.
15 “I've been busy!”
Scared of the doctor? So many of us don’t want to admit that we are, but…ummmm…for many of us, it’s kinda true. OK, maybe it’s not the actual doctor who freaks us out. The fear is based more on what could come out of an appointment. In other words, your anxiety about what may or may not even happen! (Will I leave with news that I now have an illness? Could the mole on my back be malignant?)
This is why skipping out on a regular check-up a visit with a specialist – using the excuse of “I’ve been busy!” – seems to be the easier choice. But in reality, all you’re doing is avoiding important appointments that could actually turn out great and put your mind at rest. Ultimately, it's safer to find the time to go and then share your feelings about everything with the doctor during the appointment. Because if you do have a certain medical condition that requires treatment – the sooner the better!
14 “I usually get a good night’s sleep.”
It's been proven that a lack of sleep can lead to problems, such as overeating, lack of concentration, sickness, fatigue, etc. So if you’re suffering in any way from insomnia, don’t hold back! Be sure to share that with the doctor. He or she is likely to have tips and resources, regarding the importance of a good night’s sleep, to provide you.
Sometimes lying to the doctor is like lying to a parent. You just don’t feel like getting chastised for not doing what you should be doing, especially if you’re being over-worked, partying too much, or engaging in bad drug habits. But in the case of a medical professional, he or he can help you understand how not getting enough sleep will affect both your mental and physical health. Whereas your mom might make you feel a ‘lil guilty, a doctor should hope to help solve the problem in a non-bias way.
13 “I always take the right dosage.”
Most of us have taken more Tylenol or other headache medication than recommended when the pain is too severe to even think. Not that this is the right thing to do, but it’s common. And most people feel that this over-the-counter drug is pretty safe – even if you do take a few more pills that you should.
Truth is, any time you take a higher dosage of medication you putting yourself at risk for a potential complication. So when you do go for your doctor visit, and he or she asks about the medications you’re taking, your best bet is to just be honest. This is especially important for prescribed meds, because whatever you’re “on” was dispensed to you because you – in one or another – showed that you may need it. But if you do take more than you should, be sure to let the doctor know and learn what could happen if you continue taking the wrong dosage.
12 “I always have safe nookie.”
The topic of unprotected sex is hardly an enjoyable conversation to have with anyone. Yes, this includes your doctor. Whether you have the occasional one-night stand without protection or have had those once-in-awhile “uh-oh” moments with your significant other, talking to a medical professional about unprotected intimacy can be embarrassing and feel almost too private to discuss. So lying about it and saying that you always have safe sex may be the easier, guilt-free route to take. (Who wants to admit to using the “pull out” method?)
At least for the time being. Because remember: a test doesn’t lie. So ‘fessing up sooner than later could you save you some stress and keep your line of communication with the doctor much more comfortable. We understand how private this topic is, especially when the potential results of unprotected sex are pregnancy and STDs. But just like most things you should disclose to your doctor, doing so sooner than later is smart. it’s definitely a convo worth having.
11 “I’ve only had a few partners.”
The number of people you’ve slept with doesn’t reflect your intelligence or your beauty. It just is what it is! But when it comes to telling your doctor the number of intimate partners you currently have – or have had since becoming sexually active – you may feel a bit tongue-tied. But remember, the reason for providing these details is for the doctor to learn if you regularly practice safe sex. If you are currently have more than one intimate partner, then naturally, the doctor will want to know how careful you are with these people.
Unfortunately, discussing this personal side of your life can cause you to feel shame and embarrassment (especially if you’ve been a bit promiscuous and can’t truly remember or keep count). Many chicks choose female medial practitioners for this very reason – to avoid discomfort during the visit. So if this is an area that you really couldn’t imagine discussing with a male doctor, then shop around for the physician you can best relate to.
10 “I didn’t know it was contagious!”
From having a cold to a rash, sometimes it's easier to keep moving along with your life busily than dealing with the fact that you could be posing a risk to someone else. But is that the ethical thing to do? While there are some people who may not care if they’re contagious, there are those who may not even be aware that that they are carrying some sort of virus.
‘Cause let’s face it: when something isn’t right with our bodies, it’s scary to have to deal with it head on. And because that daunting visit to the doctor may not happen right away (due to fear of even scheduling the appointment in the first place), the longer you could be sick or have an infection that you’re bringing in close proximity to others. So when you find out something is contagious – something maybe deep down you already knew was – it’s easier to save face in front of the doctor and say, “I didn’t know it was contagious” instead of dealing with reality.
9 “I don’t puff or drink.”
How much you smoke or drink is really your business. But because there is such a thing as smoking too much and drinking too much, both of which can cause major health problems, truthfully answering your doctor’s questions is super-important. He or she may have links to resources and support groups you might need, statistics to help wake you up, and x-rays that could reveal the true quality of your health.
We get it – the last thing you want to admit is that you're guilty of having unhealthy vices. But a lot of us have some sort of something we do or consume in excess, so you’re hardly alone! Still, when it comes to doctor appointments, it shouldn’t be so much about hiding your habits in fear of judgment; rather it may be time to face the truth and learn how to improve certain areas of your life. Better late than never!
8 “I’m regularly active.”
When was the last time you had a good sweat while working out? Like, a good sweat. Well, if you’re like many women who come and go for their doctor appointments, you may exaggerate a bit. Yes, you have a home treadmill. But have you made it clear that you actually use it as a shoe rack instead?
As a whole, we know the benefits of moderate exercise on our physical, mental, and emotional health. It helps with circulation, weight control, and your wellbeing. Not to mention it can help to prevent illness so you don’t have to wind up at the doctor’s office as often! Whether it’s walking briskly or gardening, moderate exercise on a regular basis should be such a natural part of your daily life that you wouldn’t need to even think about lying to a doctor. But a lot of us do because we’re scared of how being sedentary can actually affect us.
7 “I don’t know my family’s medical history.”
Just the thought of inheriting the same health problem as your grandmother is scary, but it’s so easy to push things to back of your mind, especially when you’re fearful or you just don’t think it’ll ever happen to you. So when it comes to discussing your family’s medical history with your doctor, are you coming clean with what you’ve known your whole life? Or, do you play dumb and pretend that certain diseases or illnesses don’t run in your family because you don’t want to face reality?
If you aren’t honest about your family medical history, you’re only keeping the doctor in the dark. This means it’s more difficult for him or her to gauge how/if something you, too, might be experiencing is genetic or unique to your health. If you really are clueless about your family background, then admitting that to your doctor may be better than lying about it altogether.
6 “My medical background is pretty clean.”
Visiting a new doctor for the first time can cause so much stress for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest, of course, is having to disclose your medical background. Usually, you fill out paperwork while in the waiting room, which asks you detailed info about your health. Knowing that you’ll have to then discuss these areas with the doctor face to face as well could be enough to make you wanna leave the office altogether. From the type of allergies you have to STDs you may have gotten, what you provide a medical practitioner can be one of the most annoying steps during your visit.
But every detail matters. Similar to lying about your family’s medical history, you are only doing yourself a disservice by lying to your doctor about your own personal background. But a lot of us do it ‘cause a lot of us just want to make it through the appointment!
Top 5 Lies That Doctors Tell Us
5 “I've seen/done this before.”
Just because a doctor tells you that he or she is experienced in a certain area doesn’t always mean that this is true. Hearing something like “I’ve seen/done this before” might make you feel less alone – knowing that there are other people who have what you have – but it doesn’t necessarily mean this is true. As a whole, we put a lot of blind trust in medical practitioners because we are taught to trust them. Hopefully, most doctors admit when they are unfamiliar with a certain condition or problem, but don’t hold your breath! If you do your research beforehand, however, you’ll at least go into an appointment armed with enough knowledge that will help you ask educated questions!
4 “Don't worry”
The words “don’t worry” can be very calming when you’re freaking out over something – especially something health-related! This is something doctors need to be good at, they are dealing with the health of their patients. They are professionals but we do forget that they are human too, they know that saying something simple to keep a patient at ease is necessary in certain situations. Especially when it isn't yet time to panic, why have someone freak out on them. Maybe your x-rays showed an abnormal growth or maybe your rash is spreading like rapid fire. Either way, be sure to ask the physician why he or she thinks you shouldn’t worry. Ask for the details and don't feel bad about needing more information. You need to look out for yourself. Hopefully, you receive an educated response.
3 “It's not that big of a deal.”
Has a doctor ever said this to you or someone you know? This is similar to “don’t worry,” the saying “It’s not that big of a deal” can also be calming and reassuring, but should not be said by your doctor unless they have given you reasons as to why. But if you know – after doing much research on your own – that a certain problem you have may actually is a big deal, ask yourself why the doctor would say that, is there something you overlooked or never considered? Is his or her body language a bit odd during the visit? Do they seem to be dodging certain questions? Your instincts will give you insight to the sincerity of the doctor, and do not be afraid to speak up about your questions and concerns. You have surely heard of stories when patients were misdiagnosed or brushed off by their doctor, this is something that should never be taken lightly.
2 “You have (diagnosis).”
Receiving a diagnosis of any sort can be nerve wrecking, especially if your condition is rare and/or considered terminal. This is when getting a second opinion is very important! Although the medical industry can help to save lives and improve the quality of one’s life, it is also big business that makes money off of operations and prescribed medications. So before you say yes to surgery or certain drugs, keep in mind that is one doctor with one diagnosis. And be sure to have a trusted friend or loved one with you when major decisions are being made. Not only for support, but for a second pair of eyes and ears.
1 “Everything’s Going to Turn Out Fine.”
This is the most ideal thing that a doctor could say to a patient. But it also sounds too good to be true, because there are several variables that could affect the outcome of a condition or treatment. This is something that a good doctor most likely will not tell a patient because it’s guaranteeing a little too much. Providing someone with hope is one thing – giving false hope is another thing. Research, research, research!