11 ‘Embarrassing’ Health Issues That Are More Common Than You Might Think


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Let’s face it: everyone finds some of their health issues a little embarrassing. Unlike something such as a scar gotten after falling off a bike that many kids often can’t wait to tell everybody about, one may have trouble admitting to having certain health problems, let alone seeking treatment. 

It is even harder to confront your ’embarrassing’ health issues head-on when they have a social stigma attached to them.

We may have come a long way in terms of openness about our health. But there are still so many illnesses and health issues people would rather keep to themselves than talk to a friend about, much less a doctor. 

However, no matter the condition, it is vital to remember that you are not alone in facing these challenges. Here are 11 common health problems people should stop feeling embarrassed about.

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Embarrassing Health Issues That Are More Common Than You Think

  1. Haemorrhoids (Piles)

Prevalence: A lot of people are going to have haemorrhoids at some point in their lives. In fact, a recent study showed that they could be affecting nearly 40% of people in the UK. You are likely to be at higher risk of piles as you get older.

Causes: Haemorrhoids can happen for various reasons, including straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, eating foods low in fibre, sitting on the toilet for too long, older age, and being overweight.

Treatment: The good news is that mild cases of haemorrhoids can often be managed by making changes to your diet. Getting more fibre and staying hydrated can really help. You might need to go through a medical procedure if it is more serious, but treatment options for piles are available.

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  1. Incontinence

Prevalence: Both urinary and faecal incontinence are far more common health issues than you might think. Think of millions of people suffering from them rather than thousands or just you.

Causes: Incontinence can happen because of age, childbirth, and medical conditions. But it can also be a lifestyle-related thing.

Treatment: You will find that this answer is common throughout this article, but the treatment for incontinence does depend on how serious the problem is. You might be looking at pelvic floor exercises, medication, or lifestyle changes. Surgical interventions are sometimes necessary in extreme cases of incontinence. Your doctor will explain what you can do to help with this problem.

  1. Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Prevalence: Halitosis is one of the embarrassing health issues that are more common than you think. Perhaps you even know some people with bad breath because research indicates that it affects over 30% of the population. It can be really distressing when it happens to you.

Causes: Halitosis can be due to poor oral hygiene, dental problems, or diet. Bad breath could also be a sign there are underlying health conditions.

Treatment: Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial. Make sure to go to the dentist regularly so that any issues that could be causing bad breath, for example, gum disease, can be addressed sooner rather than later.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Prevalence: ED is a common health issue many men think is embarrassing. It can happen to males of all ages, but particularly among those over 40 years old. Studies found that more than 40% of men in the UK experience some form of erectile dysfunction.

Causes: You might experience erectile dysfunction because of medical conditions, stress, or lifestyle factors, although you may not know that from all the stigma around it.

Treatment: Talking to your doctor is always a good place to start, especially if you are worried about it. A lot of ED treatment is also available from online pharmacies. Visit Chemist4U to learn more about the different medications available and how they can help you.

  1. Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

Prevalence: Excessive sweating is another of the embarrassing health issues that are more common than you think. It can affect both men and women and often kicks in during adolescence. Hyperhidrosis is not just an underarm problem either. You might also notice it around your hands and feet.

Causes: Excessive sweating can happen because of anxiety, menopause, exposure to too much heat, or medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, acromegaly, infection, hyperthyroidism, and heart disease, among other reasons.

Treatment: Topical antiperspirants might be a good place to start, but medications and other procedures are available too. Consulting a healthcare professional can help determine the most effective approach for treating hyperhidrosis.

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  1. Genital Herpes

Prevalence: This is one of the most common STIs out there. Having genital herpes can make people feel embarrassed and ashamed to admit this common health issue because of the stigma attached to it. However, many individuals with this virus may not exhibit any symptoms. But it can lead to outbreaks of painful sores.

Cause: Genital herpes is often spread through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas during sex.

Treatment: Antiviral medications can help manage outbreaks and reduce their frequency. Practising safe sex and open communication with sexual partners is essential when dealing with genital herpes.

  1. Constipation

Prevalence: It can happen to anyone, regardless of how old you are. It is estimated that 1 in every 7 adults in the UK is experiencing constipation at any given time.

Causes: You might become constipated because of your diet, but a lack of physical activity can also be a factor. It is worth remembering that some medical conditions also cause constipation.

Treatment: Increasing your fibre intake and staying hydrated can relieve constipation. If this doesn’t help, talk to your doctor because laxatives or other medications may be necessary.

  1. Fungal Infections

Prevalence: Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and yeast infections are common health issues people think are embarrassing. People with a poor immune system are more likely to get them.

Causes: Fungal infections are caused by fungi that thrive in warm, moist environments, which means that you are likely to find them in areas like the feet, groin, and genital region.

Treatment: Over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments are generally effective and should clear the problem nicely. In severe or recurrent cases of fungal infections, healthcare professionals may prescribe stronger medications.

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  1. Acne

Prevalence: Most people think of acne as a teenage thing. However, adult acne is a common, often embarrassing, health issue. It can make people feel incredibly self-conscious, causing insecurities and affecting their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Causes: Acne can be caused by several factors, including clogged hair follicles, inflammation, too much oil production, and bacteria.

Treatment: You should always talk to your doctor if you are struggling with acne. Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help manage and reduce acne breakouts.

  1. Excessive Gas and Flatulence

Prevalence: Excessive gas and flatulence are normal bodily functions, but they can be embarrassing if they become more frequent or disruptive.

Causes: Various factors, including diet and digestion, contribute to excessive gas production.

Treatment: Dietary adjustments, such as reducing gas-producing foods, and over-the-counter remedies like simethicone can help alleviate excessive gas. If gas-related discomfort persists, consult a healthcare provider to rule out underlying digestive issues.

  1. Dandruff

Prevalence: Dandruff is a common scalp condition characterised by flaky, itchy skin, which can be embarrassing if the white flakes are visible in your hair or if they fall on your face, neck, or clothes. You might notice it more during the winter because the air is drier.

Causes: Dandruff can occur for various reasons, including, dry skin, haircare products, fungus, allergies, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Treatment: Using anti-dandruff shampoos and proper scalp hygiene can help control dandruff. However, a dermatologist may recommend prescription-strength treatments in some cases. So get in touch with your doctor if you are worried.

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Conclusion: Seeking Help and Support

You are never alone when suffering from any health condition, even one you think is embarrassing. So many of these problems have simple treatments.

However, since plenty of the common ’embarrassing’ health issues could be warning signs that something more serious is happening, you should always talk to your doctor if you are worried.

When it comes to your health and well-being, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Prioritize your wellness and ensure you get the help and support you need as soon as possible!

This is a contributed post.

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