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How to stop being self-conscious about my body?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 February 2018) 4 Answers - (Newest, 14 February 2018)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I have been postponing scheduling my physical exam with my new doctor because I am pretty self-conscious about my body. My old doctor retired and he was at least 30+ years older than me and this new one he is younger and closer to my age range. I guess I just felt so comfortable with my old doctor. I also have gained weight and feel disgusted with my problem areas (especially my tummy). I guess I am having trouble with the idea of someone completely new seeing me so exposed even though he is my doctor and I shouldn't feel that way but I do. What is wrong with me? Can you give me some good tips on how to be more comfortable in that setting?

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (14 February 2018):

You do realize he's seen the grossest things every week at his job? You know that dense state doctors give you when they talk to you? Well that's how little he about what body parts on a patient look like. Half the time they're so burnt out tired that they're lucky they don't walk into the wall when they enter the room. Just imagine him doing that when you're at your next appointment and make him wonder why you're giggling to yourself instead.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (14 February 2018):

I can understand your discomfort, as far as removing your clothing in-front of a stranger. However; the doctor is not interested in your physical aesthetics; he would be more concerned about your health. Remember this is a medical examination, not a date.

I've been a healthcare-professional. During training there is a lot of stress on professional-objectivity. Then there is training on handling the patient's sensitivities, shyness, cultural-issues, and behavior. The doctor is aware of everything you'd be feeling before you walk into his office.

They/we treat patients of both sexes; so we keep our minds focused on the job, and treating the patient. You have to be totally focused on the symptoms of an illness and medically-related physiological-irregularities. Your mind doesn't have time to focus on anything unrelated to that. You see all shapes and sizes. Nice and not so nice. It's just a body; from a medical perspective.

By the time the doctor is practicing medicine, he or she has seen and treated hundreds of patients. Professional-objectivity and detachment becomes second-nature, or automatic. Your mind "switches gears," so to speak.

You're a human-specimen when you're on the examining table; and a person when discussing your health or illness. Some doctors are a bit robotic or emotionless; and you're only a specimen from the time you walk in, until you leave. You'd think they were a classic case of Asperger's. I've known a few. The bottom-line is, they are professional and there to tend to your health and provide medical-treatment.

For a guy, it was a little difficult having a woman do a scrotal exam (turn your head and cough) or examine your penis; if you are used to always having a male doctor. It takes time to get acquainted, gain trust, and to relax. There is nothing wrong with you at all. It's normal.

I think the doctor will talk with you, go over your chart and vitals, place you at ease; and all will go fine.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (13 February 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony aunt1) He won't see your whole body nude unless it's a rare exam?

2) Find a female doctor, if you're uncomfortable with him

3) Your problem areas won't just go away, so maybe you need to see a therapist about it, if you're disgusted

4) If you're unhappy with things, try to change them

As a side note, I'm a carer and I help all sorts of adults with personal care. I don't see their "flaws", I just get on with the job. Doctors and nurses do too.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (13 February 2018):

Honeypie agony auntMy advice? JUST get it over with.

There is no point in waiting until you are "comfortable" with your body. If you need a check up, then go see your doctor. If you don't feel comfortable with him, find a female doctor.

Instead of the self-disgust (though I fully understand you!) TALK to your doctor about it. The belly fat issue.

He is your doctor, he is all about your health, he is NOT the pageants doctor there to JUDGE you and your body. OK? He has seen PLENTY of bodies in his time and I seriously doubt you will disgust him in any way shape or form.

However, the ONLY way you can get past this is to JUST DO IT!

When my husband was still active duty you NEVER knew who you would get to see (as your family care physician) I was going in for the annual well woman check up - where you get your boobs check, you get your pelvis exam etc etc... NOT the kind of doctor visits ANY woman enjoys. And my doctor? Well one time is was a 6 foot 7 inches dude who looked like he could bench-press a house with hand the size of oven-mitts! I swear I almost cancelled my appointment then and there. But you know what? He was also the most gentle doctor I have ever had.

And what's even better - there would be a WHOLE year to my next exams!!

So just get it over with. Your health is more important that 15 minutes of being awkward and feeling shy. Trust me.

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